Research Process

    Big6 Problem Solving Researh Process          "HOW-TO" -- A+ Paper
    I-Search Research Process

    The BIG6 is a research process developed by 

    Michael B. Eisenberg & Robert E. Berkowitz. 


    1.1 Define the information problem
    What does your teacher want you to do? Make sure you understand the requirements of the assignment. Ask your teacher to explain if the assignment seems vague or confusing. Restate the assignment in your own words and ask if you are correct.

    1.2 Identify the information you need in order to complete the task (to solve the information problem) 
    What information do you need in order to do the assignment? Your teacher will often tell you what information you need. If he or she does not, it will help you to write a list of questions that you need to "look up."


    2.1 Determine the range of possible sources (brainstorm) 
    This means that you need to make a list of all the possible sources of information that will help you answer the questions you wrote in Task Definition above. Consider library books, encyclopedias, and web sites to which your library subscribes (ask your librarian!), people who are experts in your subject, observation of your subject, free web sites and survey.

    2.2 Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities (select the best sources) 
    Now, look carefully at your list. Which ones are actually available to you and are easy for you to use? Circle these. If there are some that you need help using, ask your teacher, librarian, mom or dad.

    Task 3:  LOCATION & ACCESS

    3.1 Locate sources 
    Figure out where you will get these sources. Beside each source, write its location. If it is a web site, list its web address. Try to use those that your teacher or librarian have linked or bookmarked. This will save you time. If your source is a person, figure out how you will contact him or her and make a note of this.Now, you will actually get the sources. You may have to get and use them one at a time. If so, come back to this step to locate each source.

    3.2 Find information within sources 
    Now that you have the source in hand, how will you get to the information that you need? (Remember the questions you wrote in Task Definition?) This all depends on the source.


    4.1 Engage in the source (read, listen, view, touch)
    Most likely you will need to read, listen or view your source. If you can't understand any of it, be sure to ask an adult to help you. It's OK not to understand, it's not OK not to ask for help. You are looking for the information you need. You may not need to read, listen to, or view all of your source. You may be able to skip around, finding subheadings and topic sentences (read the first sentences in each paragraph) that will take you to your information.

    4.2 Take out the relevant information from a source

    Task 5:  SYNTHESIS

    5.1 Organize information from multiple sources 
    Decide how you will put together the notes you took and ideas that you will add. You may:

    • Write a rough draft
      • Create an outline
      • Create a storyboard
      • Make a sketch
      • _______________


    5.2 Present the information 
    If your teacher assigns the product:

    • Make sure that you follow your teacher's guidelines.
      • Add value to the product by including your ideas along with the information you found in books, web sites, and other sources. Make sure that your final product or paper is more than just a summary of what you found in the other sources.
      • Make a product or write a paper that you would be proud for anyone to read.
      • Include a bibliography. This is an alphabetized list of your sources. See the citation page for help.

    Task 6:  EVALUATION

    6.1 Judge your product (how effective were you) 
    Before turning in your assignment, compare it to the requirements that your teacher gave you.

    • Did you do everything and include all that was required for the assignment?
    • Did you give credit to all of your sources, written in the way your teacher requested?
    • Is your work neat?
    • Is your work complete and does it include heading information (name, date, etc.)
    • Would you be proud for anyone to view this work?


    6.2 Judge your information problem-solving process (how efficient were you) 
    Think about the actions that you perform as you are working on this assignment. Did you learn some things that you can use again?

    • What did you learn that you can use again?
    • How will you use the skill(s) again?
    • What did you do well this time?
    • What would you do differently next time?
    • What information sources did you find useful? You may be able to use them again.
    • What information sources did you need but did not have? Be sure to talk to your librarian about getting them.