1. Inquiry is a continuous, reiterative process. Inquiry begins mid-stream, in a situation, one both settled and unsettled, and moves on (through the process of inquiry itself) to other situations and other problems, themselves both stabilized and troubled. Thus, it is perfectly appropriate -- even rigorous -- to begin with tentative parameters of the situation to be inquired into and tentative understandings of what is at stake.
2. Inquiry requires discovering and formulating the conditions of the problem at hand. It is in this way that inquiry is situated and its goal is to isolate something in the world that is causing or occasioning indeterminacy or discordancy. Form giving is thus an essential goal and an essential moment of "describing" a problem and of shaping an inquiry.
3. Since the problem lies in the situation and the situation is conditioned by various factors, it is only through discovering and giving form to elements that are already present that the inquiry can precede. Hence the process involves staying in the midst of things of the world but of transforming them in specific ways so as to give them the kind of form that is determinate and can be known.
4. Inquiry is experimental in its form giving. Hence the interest of an experiment is its ability not to represent a pre-existing situation nor to construct an entirely new one but through reiterated and controlled adjustment to arrive at a determinate and concordant situation.
5. The solution to a particular problem consists in a series of steps whose particularities are not known before those steps are undertaken. The observation and reflection on the process can be called reason as long as we are clear that reason is neither a faculty of mind, nor a quality of the things themselves, but rather a distinctive mode of taking up the practice of inquiry.