Welcome to Environmental Inquiry: authentic scientific research for high school students  
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Image of students using a graduated cylinderFor Students
This page answers questions you may have about Environmental Inquiry and points you to resources that will help you conduct environmental science research in your classroom, schoolyard, or community.

Your first question might be, "What do you mean by inquiry?" In Environmental Inquiry, we're referring to these steps:

  1. Ask scientific questions,
  2. Design an investigation to look into one of these questions,
  3. Conduct an experiment - including collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data
  4. Draw conclusions based on the evidence you have collected,
  5. Present your work and get feedback from other students, teachers, and possibly interested community groups.

Frequently asked questions
What is Environmental Inquiry (EI)?
What do students and teachers say about EI?

Glossary
Look up new or confusing terms on the EI website.

Doing Your Own Research
Don't know where to start? This website has a number of resources that can help. If you already know what topic you are interested in but aren't sure how to conduct your own experiment, you could start by reading some tips for planning experiments.

If you don't have a research topic in mind, you could start by browsing through EI's four topics: Toxicology, Ecology, Biodegradation, and Watersheds. Each provides background information, resources, and ideas for experiments.

For example, if you are interested in doing a toxicology project, you could check out suggestions for bioassay experiments or read some completed research reports by other students who have used our online peer review system.

Useful Links
Browse all the links to environmental science resources provided on the EI website.

Peer Review
Professional scientists rely on feedback from fellow scientists as they plan their research, find funding, and present and publish their results. This process of peer review helps scientists think about their results in new ways, or come up with new ideas. Peer review also helps government and private organizations decide which research projects to fund, and which research papers to publish in scientific journals. EI's peer review tutorial provides more information.

After receiving feedback from fellow students who have carried out similar types of experiments, you may be able to improve your report. You also may find that the process of reviewing reports by other students helps you to think differently about your own work.

EI Websites
In order to provide interactive web-based opportunities for students of all ages, we have created two websites:

  1. The Cornell EI site you currently are visiting, which is designed for use by high school students and teachers, and
  2. Our EI site at Penn State University, which is designed for use by undergraduate students and faculty.


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