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The Big6 Process: The “Key” to Information and Technology Skills

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The Big6 Process: The “Key” to Information and Technology Skills. Task Definition Information Seeking Strategies Location and Access Use of Information Synthesis Evaluation. There are two parts to each Big6 Skill. These parts help you to understand the meaning of each skill.

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Task Definition

Information Seeking Strategies

Location and Access

Use of Information




There are two parts to each Big6 Skill. These parts help you to understand the meaning of each skill.


• This process does not require all students to do things in exactly the same way.

• Everyone has differences in personal style.

• There are many paths to the same end.


#1 Task Definition

• Define the problem

What is the problem to be solved?

Determine what is required for the assignment.

Select and broaden or narrow the topic.

Form questions based on topics and subtopics.


Big6 # 1 Task Definition

Determine a purpose and need for information

Information Problem:

Natural disasters strike the world in many different forms. What is _______________ and what “effects” result from this occurrence?



They have the power to shake the universe. They helped form the earth beneath our feet. They can bring both blessings and devastation. No human can control them. No man can fully comprehend their awesome majesty. No year since the beginning of time has the earth failed to witness their coming. Natural disasters can happen at any time or place. They can bring sorrow, but they can also teach important lessons about who we are, what is important to us, and what joys life can hold for every human being.


Big 6 #1 Task Definition

What am I supposed to find out?

I am supposed to find out what natural disasters are, examples of natural disasters, how they are different, and what the effects of them are on people and the world.


#1 Task Definition

• Identify the information requirements of problem

What information is needed in order to solve the problem or make the decision?

Pick out keywords in the question or assignment.

Recognize information is needed from at least three sources.


What information do I need in order to do this?

(Consider listing in question form the information you feel you need to know at this time)

What is a natural disaster?

What is a “force of nature”?

What are examples of natural disasters?

What is meant by “effects?”

How does a particular natural disaster affect people and the world?


#1 Task Definition

Determine statements or keywords that require evidence for support.

Recognize need to gather information from people through interviews, surveys or questionnaires.



  • Types of information - facts, opinions, primary,secondary
  • •Amount of information - single source, a few, comprehensive
  • • Format of information - text, graphics, audio, video

#2 Information Seeking Strategies

• Determine the range of possible sources

What are all possible sources of information?

Brainstorm what sources can and should be used to find out the correct information.

Think “far out!”


#2 Information Seeking Strategies

• Select the best sources

What are the criteria for determining a relevant source?



• Accuracy

• Completeness

• Reliability (authoritative)

• Preciseness

• Validity (on target)

• Availability

• Currency

• Ease of use

• Cost

• Entertainment (is fun)


Which criteria is most important?

It depends on the assignment and the student.


Big6 #2 Information Seeking Strategies

Examine alternative approaches to acquiring information.



  • Encyclopedia •Almanac
  • Reference books


• Student Resource Center

• SIRS Knowledge Source

• World Book Online Encyclopedia

• web sites


#3 Location & Access

• Locate sources

* To save time and effort, find the Index, the file that organizes the content of a source alphabetically for easy searching and location.

Everyday indexes: (examples)

•telephone/phone book

•stores in mall/mall directory

•television shows/TV guide or newspaper

•food in store/overhead aisle index


#3 Location & Access

• Locate sources

• Find information within sources


Consider alternative descriptive words that represent the topic

Use graphic organizers (charts and mind maps) to help brainstorm keywords


#3 Location & Access

*Boolean searching in

Electronic databases

In electronic indexes, search results can be expanded or narrowed by linking terms with a Boolean term such as “or,” “but not,” or “and.”


Internet Search Tips

“Keys” to Effective Internet Searching


Internet Search Tips:

Task Definition

* Clearly define your information need

* What do you need/want to know?

* How much information do you need/want?

Hint: Use general library resources, such as encyclopedias, other reference and non-fiction books, before you begin using the Internet.


Internet Search Tips

Information Seeking Strategies

*Does your topic…Have distinctive words or phrases?

*If your topic does have distinctive words or phrases, then enclose the word(s) or phrase(s) in “quotes”.

*Example: “coronary heart disease”


Internet Search Tips

Location & Access

*Carefully select your search terms.

*Use synonyms, alternates, broader and/or narrower search terms to expand or narrow your search if necessary.


Internet Search Tips

Location & Access

*If your topic has no distinctive words or phrases, then your search requires more than one term with AND or +.

*Example: health and wellness


Internet Search Tips

Location & Access

*Use advanced search techniques such as truncation & Boolean logic

*Truncation is used to expand results

*A common truncation symbol is “*” (asterisk)


Internet Search Tips

Location & Access

*Use the truncation search technique. Truncation: * (asterisk)

*For example, a search on the word: child* would also search for: childish, children, children’s


Internet Search Tips

Location & Access

*Use the Boolean logic search technique. Boolean logic enables a searcher to define sets and search on sets using Boolean operators.

*The principal Boolean operators are:

AND (intersection)

OR (union)

NOT (difference)


Internet Search Tips:

Location & Access Information Use

*When searching the Internet you may need to vary your approach.

*Carefully and accurately record your findings.

*Carefully organize your bookmarks within meaningful headings.


Internet Search Tips:

Information Seeking Strategy

*Don’t bog down in any search strategy that doesn’t work.

*Get help whenever you need it.


Determining Web Page Validity

Internet searches might yield hundreds of relevant Web pages, but not all of them will be valid or useful. Understanding the URL (uniform locator or Web address) is an important first step.

• Look at the domain to the right of the dot or period.


The last 3 letters indicate the general purpose of the host group. Here are the most common domains and their meanings:

edu = schools, colleges, universities; gov = Government agencies; org = Organizations (non-profit); mil = Military; com = commercial business; net = Network organizations



News about NASA on a site with a domain name ending in “com” - question validity. WHY?

What if the address is - means Web site is hosted by NASA - info should be reliable.

Because a Web site has the .edu doesn’t guarantee validity either. A long URL could be a student’s page.


Internet Search Tools

• Evaluate your search tools.

• Evaluate your result lists.

• Evaluate the author’s credentials.

• Evaluate the sites you plan to use.





#4 Use of Information

•Engage (read, hear, view) the

information in a source

Look for “relevant” information,

or information that is “on the topic,”

based on your task definition.

Relevance can be based on recency,

depth/scope, accuracy, clarity and novelty.


#4 Use of Information

• Extract relevant information

This is where the “rubber meets

the road!”

Information that you consider to be relevant

should be highlighted or marked in some way.



1. Highlight or underline the main-idea sentences or phrases, thesis statement, supporting evidence and key words. Skim and scan for only relevant information.

Circle large portions of important text, diagrams or charts that contain main concepts explanations, or examples.

3. Design a coding system of stars, Xs, exclamation points that can be written in the margins to label main ideas or important vocabulary words.



Three steps:

Identify keywords and related words in the question.

Skim and scan for relevant information. Read the first and last paragraph of sections for summaries of the content and the first and last sentences of paragraphs to get an impression of the topic. Move your eyes quickly over the reading material looking for one specific point.

Extract or pull out needed information. Toss aside trash words, unnecessary sentences and phrases.


#5 Synthesis

Synthesis is the result, the output part of the information process. It can be writing a research paper, but it can also be:

• answering multiple choice questions on a test

• writing a poem or short story

• making a decision on where to go for dinner


#5 Synthesis

•Organize information from multiple


- By category

- As a continuum (small/large)

- Alphabetically

- By time

- As a story (beginning to end)

- Or any combination of the above


#5 Synthesis

• Present the result

“What the result should look like” should be part of Task Definition and “What the original purpose” was should be part of Synthesis.

How does technology play a role in synthesis?


#6 Evaluation

• Judge the result (effectiveness)

• Judge the process (efficiency)

-Determine strengths and weaknesses of your solutions

-Justify your decisions

-Become self-directed and self- motivated to produce quality work

-Boost confidence and pride


• Effectiveness - judging how well one did in meeting the goals of the information problem-solving process

-Compare requirements to results

-Check appropriateness and accuracy of information

-Judge how well solution is organized

-Rate quality of final product compared to potential

-Judge quality of product to predefined standard


• Efficiency - saving time and effort in the process, doing as well as possible with as little time and effort as possible

-Recognize how you learn, process information and solve problems

-Keep log of problem-solving activities

-Reflect on sequence of events and judge effort and time involved

-Review frustrations and barriers encountered

-Rate abilities to perform activities


Evaluation and

Task Definition

How well did you:

Understand the assignment?

Focus your assignment topic?


Evaluation and Information Seeking Strategies

How well did you choose the best resources to help you with your assignment?


Evaluation and Location and Access

How well did you find the resources you were looking for?

On the Internet, which search engines and search terms worked best?

How well did you find the information you were looking for within the sources?


Evaluation and

Use of Information

Which strategies worked best for using the information found on the Web- downloading, printing, note taking, etc?

Did you cite sources accurately?


Evaluation and


Did your final project meet the requirements of the assignment?

Did it come out the way you wanted it to?



Did you encounter any problems during this activity? Explain.

How would you improve next time?