Skip to content

Toggle service links

Nominet nQuire

Project website/blog

What Research questions the project addresses, aims & themes

nQuire: Young Citizen Inquiry will support young people be scientists by enabling them to take part in genuine scientific practice through an online open science laboratory. Young people will broaden their understanding of how science is done, co-design investigations, engage in inquiry learning and experience the thrill of finding things out. 


  • To design and develop a set of open access tools for scientific investigation, adapted from the OpenScience laboratory in collaboration with young people.
  • To support young people aged 15-19, individually or through organizations such as British Science Association, to engage with the tools and
  • To implement cycles of design, evaluation and reporting, though a sequence of workshop activities with the Sheffield University Technical College (UTC) and the young user community online

How the research questions are addressed (methodology and activity/environment)

nQuire: Young Citizen Inquiry employs a design-based research approach, to iteratively design, implement and test the citizen inquiry activities developed at the Open University through the OpenScience laboratory, in order to successfully adapt these tools to young people’s interests.

An adapted version of nQuire ( will provide a consistent interface and facilities for self-registration, group management and sharing. The nQuire authoring tools will allow participants to both create their own collaborative investigations and adapt existing ones.
The project is divided into two phases:
  • Phase 1 involves the adaptation of the available tools and activities and the evaluation of the users’ experience and attitudes.
  • Phase 2 involves opening the tools and activities to young scientists and investigating their engagement in science

Findings and outputs

See for inquiry results.

Project impact

nQuire: Young Citizen Inquiry is expected to fully engage participating students and staff in the design of inquire-based science materials, reach 10000 registered
participants by the end of the project period, reinforce highly positive attitudes of young people towards citizen inquiry, develop new science investigations and elicit favourable press coverage towards young citizen inquiry in printed and online educational media. 


Open Science laboratory, Science investigations

People involved

Professor Mike Sharples
Dr Eloy Villasclaras-Fernandez
Dr Christothea Herodotou

Project partners and links

The Open University

UTC Sheffield


Nominet Trust

Start date and duration

September 2013 - August 2014

Research & Innovation