CoI Survey

Yellow pencilThe community of Inquiry questionnaire is developed and validated by a collaborative research team. The members of the team, in alphabetical order, are Ben Arbaugh, Marti Cleveland-Innes, Sebastian Diaz, D. Randy Garrison, Phil Ice, Jennifer Richardson, Peter Shea and Karen Swan.

The results were presented at the Sloan-C Conference in Orlando in November. A three factor solution with oblique rotation was presented. All variables loaded cleanly on the expected factor/presence. This suggests a stable instrument that could be used in a variety of studies, including large scale inter-institutional or cross-disciplinary studies.

The survey in English can be downloaded here: PDF | Word.
La encuesta en español está disponible aquí.

The survey in German can be requested from: Dr. Elske Ammenwerth, UMIT TIROL (

Note: The CoI Survey is an open resource under Creative Commons license. Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of the CoI survey to use, share, copy, adapt, merge, publish or distribute the document in any medium or format for any purpose, provided that appropriate credit is given, and any modified material is distributed under the same Creative Commons license.

Validation of CoI Survey

The original CoI Survey validation study was reported in the following articles:

Arbaugh, J.B., Cleveland-Innes, M., Diaz, S.R., Garrison, D.R., Ice, P., Richardson, & Swan, K.P. (2008). Developing a community of inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the Community of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. The Internet and higher Education, 11(3-4), 133-136.

This article reports on the multi-institutional development and validation of an instrument that attempts to operationalize Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (2000). The results of the study suggest that the instrument is a valid, reliable, and efficient measure of the dimensions of social presence and cognitive presence, thereby providing additional support for the validity of the CoI as a framework for constructing effective online learning environments. While factor analysis supported the idea of teaching presence as a construct, it also suggested that the construct consisted of two factors—one related to course design and organization and the other related to instructor behavior during the course. The article concludes with a discussion of potential implications of further refinement of the CoI measures for researchers, designers, administrators, and instructors.

Swan, K., Shea, P., Richardson, J., Ice, P., Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2008). Validating a measurement tool of presence in online communities of inquiry. E-Mentor, 2(24), 1-12.

A more comprehensive list of studies regarding the validation of the CoI framework and survey can be found in the following publications:

Abbitt, J. T., Boone, W. J. (2021). Gaining insight from survey data: an analysis of the community of inquiry survey using Rasch measurement techniques. Journal of Computing in Higher Education,

This article presents the results of evaluating a dataset collected with the Community of inquiry (CoI) survey using Rasch psychometric techniques to evaluate instrument functioning. The purpose of this article is to present a Rasch analysis of the CoI survey to provide insight into the functioning of the instrument beyond other statistical analyses of the CoI that have been conducted to date. The results of the analysis provide new insights into the functioning of this measurement instrument and demonstrate the usefulness of Rasch techniques.

Wei, L., Hu, Y., Zuo, M., & Luo, H. (2020, July). Extending the COI Framework to K-12 Education: Development and Validation of a Learning Experience Questionnaire. In Blended Learning: Education in a Smart Learning Environment. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-51968-1_26

There has been a lack of theoretically framework and research instruments to explain and explore the complexity of learning experience among K-12 students in traditional classrooms. To address this research need, the present study tentatively developed and validated a presence questionnaire for K-12 classroom (PQ-K12) to examine learning experience through the interplay of three perceived presences, as informed by the community of inquiry (CoI) framework. The presence questionnaire was initially designed with 66 items and was administered among 200 primary school students in central China. A three-step validation process comprising item analysis, exploratory factor analysis, and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted sequentially, leading to the removal of 21 items from the overall scale. The revised questionnaire yielded a strong internal reliability and a moderate structural validity. The preliminary results of this study can inform the future revision of the PQ-K12 questionnaire and provide insights on the key characteristics of K-12 education.

Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd edition). London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.

Garrison, D. R. (2018). Validity of CoI.

The CoI Survey has been translated and validated in other languages. Some of these are:

Ma, Z., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Kong, L., Wu, Y., & Yang, H. (2017). Verifying causal relationships among the presences of the community of inquiry framework in the Chinese context. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning: IRRODL, 18(6), 213-230.

Moreira, J. A., Ferreira, A. G., & Almeida, A. C. (2013). Comparing communities of inquiry of Portuguese higher education students: One for all or one for each? Open Praxis, 5(2), 165-178. doi: 10.5944/openpraxis.5.2.50

Olpak, Y. Z., & Cakmak, E. K. (2018). Examining the reliability and validity of a Turkish version of the Community of Inquiry Survey. Online Learning Journal, 22(1), 142-160.

Velázquez, B. B., Gil-Jaurena, I., Encina, J. M. (2019). Validation of the Spanish version of the ‘Community of Inquiry’ survey. Revista de Educación a Distancia, 59(4), 1-26.

We  present  the  study  of  the  reliability  and  validity  of  the  ‘Community  of  Inquiry’  (CoI) survey  in  its  Spanish  version.  The  CoI  model  conceives  teaching-learning  in  on-line environments  as  a  process  of  inquiry,  through  which  the  participants  collaborate  in  the discourse   and   critical   reflection   to   build   personal   knowledge   and   reach   a   mutual understanding. Consequently, the CoI model identifies the presence of three dimensions: a) the cognitive presence,  referred  to  the  degree  to  which  the  participants  are  capable  of constructing  meaning  and  knowledge  through  continuous  communication,  reflection  and discussion; b) the social presence, defined as the ability of participants to identify with the community, communicate and develop interpersonal relationships; c) the teaching presence, referred  to  the  design,  guidance  and  direction,  on  the  part  of  the  faculty,  of  cognitive  and social  processes  with  the  purpose  of  achieving  significant  learning  results  in  the  students. The validation of the survey in the context of Spanish distance learning shows satisfactory results from the point of view of construct validity and reliability as internal consistency,  confirming  the  usefulness  and  interest  of  this  instrument  in investigations  that  seek  to  analyze  and  improve  the  development  of  educational  processes through communities of inquiry.

Yu, T., &Richardson, J. C. (2015). Examining reliability and validity of a Korean version of the community of inquiry instrument using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. The Internet and Higher Education, 25, 45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2014.12.004

1 response to CoI Survey

  1. Would like to know who to send request for permission to use the CoI survey tool for our active learning environment hybrid class. Thank you.

    Chito Belchez
    University of Kansas School of Nursing