The KAQF framework helps you organize your thinking and research keeping an eye on actions, that is, what you might do or propose or plan on the basis of the results.

KAQF chart

What do I Know? (or claim to know)
  • (Q: How do I Know that?—What is the evidence, assumptions, and reasoning?)

Action: What actions could people pursue on the basis of accepting this knowledge?
  • (Q: Which people or group?)

Questions for inquiry: What more do I need to Know—in order to clarify what people could do (A) or to revise/refine/support the knowledge claim (K)?

How to Find this out? (Methods, Steps...)
  • (Q: What alternative methods are possible for inquiring into this Question? Will my method of research best enable me to Find this out?)

Make a template of this chart so you can copy it each time you start a new set of KAQFs.

For each KAQF chart start with a Knowledge claim OR with a proposed Action OR with a Question for inquiry you wish to consider. Then fill in the rest of the KAQFs that connects with that starting point. For example, if you entered a proposed Action, then write down what Knowledge claim(s) this Action is based on. Then move forward to identify Questions for inquiry that follow and how you might Find out the answer to the Question.

In Project-Based Learning (PBL), the Actions should address the objective stated in the PBL scenario. In Action Research, the Actions might be of several kinds. First, those related to the problem(s) behind your Action Research, including developing a constituency to act on any findings or proposals you come up with. Of course, research and thinking will often modify your ideas about the problem and appropriate actions, especially when, as you start the Action Research cycle, you Evaluate the effects of past actions (or learn about the evaluations others have done) and inquire more broadly so as to fill in relevant background (e.g., who funds or sponsors these kinds of changes and evaluations).

The additional questions in parentheses in the KAQF chart are included to check your thinking. (Asking another person to be your sounding board also helps in this matter.) E.g., In PBL, how is the research you are formulating related to the objective specified by the PBL scenario? In Action Research, is the research you are formulating related to the problem(s) behind your Action Research? In either situation, if the connection is not clear, go back and revise the entries in your chart.

When you have completed all four items—the K, the A, the Q, and the F—as well as you can for one starting point, draw a line underneath this and start another KAQF chart for another starting point. Do not mix KAQFs from different starting points into one omnibus sequence—that does not help you keep clear how a specific K matches a specific A matches a Q matches an F.

As additional Knowledge claims, Action proposals, or Questions for inquiry occur to you, start another KAQF chart. (Additional K's, A's, or Q's may emerge from checking your thinking on the previous KAQF charts.)

After you have many KAQF charts, prioritize the research you need to do (that is, your F's) and start that research—or plan how you would do it (see Research Design).