The information here includes the basic details of my previous article on WebQuests, and gives examples of WebQuests suitable for Business and Legal Studies classes.

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity where much of the information used by students will be found on the World Wide Web. The model was developed in 1995 by Bernie Dodge and Tom March, at San Diego State University. Based on the ideas of inquiry based learning and constructivism, WebQuests focus on using information rather than looking for it, and promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

WebQuests are not suitable for all topics, and do not lend themselves to teaching factual pieces of information such as the names of Australia's Prime Ministers, or the table of elements. They are best used for open-ended topics that require creativity, and problems where there may be several possible solutions.

WebQuests work exceptionally well with open-ended questions, such as:

  • Should the Australian Navy be responsible for policing Australia's immigration policy?
  • What is the ideal population target for Australia?
  • What sort of immigration policy should Australia have?
  • What isues should be considered when considering alternate forms of power generation in Australia?

A WebQuest can be as short as a single class, or could run for an entire term. WebQuests are generally developed in a way that allows groups of students to work together, dividing required tasks amongst the group.

Discussion, reflection and teamwork are all important aspects of a good WebQuest. As WebQuests use WWW resources that have been chosen by the teacher, students are not expected to find their own sources of information online.

A good WebQuest will not look for yes/no, black or white answers. Ambiguity, analysis of multiple sources of information, and a requirement to look at the same resources from multiple points of view are all key elements of a good WebQuest.

Take a look at the list of WebQuests in the "Top", "Middling", and "New" sections at to see the variety that can be found in WebQuests.


WebQuest Development


Before writing your own WebQuest, why not have a look at the WebQuests that are already available? You might find one that can be adapted for your needs, and at the least you will certainly get some ideas about the way you want to organise your own WebQuest. Become familiar with web-based resources for your subject. Go to online directories in Australia, and overseas, such as EdNA (, and the Open Directory Project ( Visit your subject association's website, to see what websites they recommend, use the list of sites you have bookmarked over your years of using the Internet. Use search engines that allow you to search for images as well as web pages. Google ( and AltaVista ( both have this facility.

Identify websites, individual pages, online images, audio and video that will be useful, and identify the points of view that you want students to explore though this WebQuest.

WebQuest Elements

Generally, your WebQuest will contain the following elements. While most of this material could be placed online, you will probably find it more useful to introduce some elements as a class activity.


Describe the purpose and topic of the WebQuest. The introduction should provide the necessary background information, and identify the role or roles that that group will assume during the WebQuest.

Identify the Task

Describe the activities that will take place during the WebQuest, and identify what students will have accomplished by the end of the WebQuest.

  • What are the questions to be answered?
  • What information will be analysed?
  • What roles, or points of view, will be explored?
  • How should the students’ findings be presented?

Describe the Process

Describe the process that students will use to complete this WebQuest. Each step in the process should include links to the required web resources.

You may wish to also list the websites and other resources that will be used separately. It is a good idea to annotate this list, so that each website is well described as this helps students in their search for information relevant to the point of view they are researching. Offline resources may also be useful and relevant. Audio and video tapes, books, newspaper cuttings, and posters could all be valuable additional resources. Don't forget human resources as well! If your WebQuest was on a topic associated with war, consider inviting war veterans to your class.

Detail the Evaluation standards

Identify how you expect the results of the students' investigations to be presented. Include a checklist of the tasks that will have been completed. The standards should be fair, clear, consistent, and specific to the tasks. If you have examples of student work from previous WebQuests, these could be used to illustrate the standards expected for this WebQuest. Consider showing both good and poor work, and spend some time with your class, discussing the differences between them. This can help involve your students in the evaluation process, and perhaps gives them a particular standard to strive for.


Provide time for reflection and summation. Give students the opportunity to discuss and share what they have learned. Encourage discussion about the merits or otherwise or the various points of view that have been explored during the WebQuest.

Some problems with WebQuests

Time, expertise and web space

WebQuests can take a considerable amount of time to develop, and teachers may not have the skills needed to create the required web pages. WebQuests can work from handouts, as along as you include the URL that students need to visit in order to use the online resources, so technical literacy is not really a problem. An online WebQuest is more convenient though, and can also be used by your colleagues, both in your school and around the globe.

Your school may not have access to a website to place the pages online. If your school doesn't have webspace, consider using a free webhost, such as, or, duplicate your WebQuest site on floppy disc, host it on your school's internal server, or develop your WebQuest and ask your subject association if they are interested in hosting it.

Continued access to resources, and copyright

As you will most likely not control the web pages and other online resources that you are pointing to, be prepared for some of these resources to change URLs, have access limitations imposed on them, or simply disappear. I can't think of a worse scenario than being half way through a term-long WebQuest and suddenly finding out that the diary of a refugee, an integral part of the WebQuest, has suddenly been removed from the web. You might want to consider writing to the maintainers of the resources you are planning to use, explaining to them that you are wanting to use their material in a WebQuest, and asking for an indication of any changes they are planning for this material. You might even want to ask them if you can make a copy of the material for use on your school's internal server. This would speed access to this material, but you should always ask permission before you do this. You might also need to make sure that the maintainer of the site actually has permission to use particular texts/images/audio as well - if they have violated copyright by placing an image on their site, they aren't in a position to give you permission to make a copy on your server.

Some sites do not like you linking to resources within their site "out of context". For example, they may not like you linking directly to an image of Winston Churchill, and would prefer you to link to their page that uses that image. Other sites discourage "deep linking", the practice of pointing to URLS within their site rather than pointing just to their home page. Again, the concern may be about using the resource out of context, or it could be that there are messages or advertising that the site owner wants the viewer to see, and if you link directly to the resource this will not happen. At present there are no laws against the practice of deep linking, but it is generally better to be courteous, and ask permission to do so. This may also help ensure that the resource, so valuable to you but perhaps no longer useful to the site maintainer, stays online for the duration of your WebQuest.

Although it is possible to include images in your own web page by their including fully specified URL, from whatever webserver they reside on, this is not good practice, and you should not do it. It is likely that you would be breaking copyright if you did so, and at the very least, unless you made it very clear that this was not your own work, and not an image stored within your site, you could be accused of pasing off someone else's work as your own.

Comprehension levels

WebQuests generally require a good level of reading comprehension, which limits their usefulness for students without good reading and comprehension skills. This also means that WebQuests are more difficult to organise for younger students.


WebQuests are a great way of introducing students to a variety of points of view, and help encourage critical analysis of both the point of view and the website that holds up that point of view as being valid. Issues of authenticity and authority may also be considered - just because the text is on a website doesn't mean that it is true, or valid, or the best explanation of events. WebQuests do help by limiting access to just material that the teacher thinks is appropriate and useful, allowing students to get on with the task without the need to find the source material first.

For more information and examples of WebQuests, visit the WebQuest site at San Diego State University -

Other resources include:

Lesson Plan Central

Potosi Public Schools

Greater Essex County District School Board


Sample WebQuest

Look Who's Footing the Bill!

An Introductory WebQuest on Democracy and the National Debt.


Legal WebQuests


So Sue Me

Online defamation WebQuest that looks at the issues from a number of perspectives.

Australian Immigration and Asylum Seeker Debate

Questions how to resolve the issue of immigration, asylum seekers and boat people in Australia.

How many Puffs are Enough?

Examines the legal and ethical issues surrounding smoking.

Hello Dolly

Asks students to consider possible government policies regarding cloning.

The Internet "A Source of Promise, A Source of Con

US WebQuest about rights to privacy and freedom of speech, and how these are being affected by the Internet.

Legal and Ethical Issues WebQuest

US WebQuest that introduces the laws that govern Copyright and Fair Use as well as some related ethical issues.

Search and Seizure Web Quest

US WebQuest that examines student rights and the laws and cases governing searches and seizures in public schools.


Years 9-12 Business WebQuests

The example WebQuests listed here are taken from the list at

Buckaroo Investment Club

Wraps some guidance around the e-trade stock simulation.

Business Plan Development

Creative Business Plan Development

Buying Your First Car

What one may incur when buying car for the first time.

Charts and Graphs

Use Internet sites to gather data to create bar and line graphs and pie charts

Congratulation$! Now Win!

Build a new sports franchise from the ground up.

Extreme Sports WebQuest

A virtual field trip across the country to create a magazine article (based on a real project)

Small Business

Use information found on the web to support your unique idea for a small business.

Water Woes

The Indian River Lagoon estuary is facing some serious problems, both in the water and out. Many different types of groups want to use the waterways for a variety of reasons, most of which appear to conflict with each other. Is there a way the groups can work together to preserve both the beauty and recreational pleasures of this unique waterway?

When I Grow Up

This is a career exploration WebQuest that asks students to research a career.