Scientific inquiry has two primary functions. Firstly, it provides a description of how scientific inquiry is conducted in practice. Secondly, it gives an explanation of why scientific inquiry is successful in arriving at genuine knowledge at the end of its process. Scientific inquiry extends beyond development of process skills such as observing, inferring, classifying, predicting, measuring, questioning, interpreting and analyzing data, which must occur in that order for proper scientific inquiry to happen.
Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Scientific inquiry includes the traditional science processes, but also refers to the combining of these processes with scientific knowledge, critical thinking and scientific reasoning to develop scientific knowledge.