LibrariesOutreachResearch Tips
Big 6 Method for Research

1 Task Definition

1.1 Define the information problem: Shape and redefine the research requirements. What are your responsibilities for the project?

1.2 Identify information needed to complete the task: What do you need to solve the information problem? Do you need a specific number of journal articles? Do you have to use a variety of printed or electronic resources? Will you need statistics? Will you need primary resources?

2 Information-Seeking Strategies

2.1 Brainstorm the range of possible sources: In the college environment, we call this a literature review. Possible sources could be books, websites, exhibits, interviews, films, etc.

2.2 Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities: Select the best sources for your project based on the kind of information you need.

3 Location and Access

3.1 Locate sources: Find the sources both intellectually and physically. Set up possible interviews, search a library catalog, use an electronic database.

3.2 Find information within sources: If you are using a book, find the applicable chapters. For journals, locate the article page numbers.

4 Use of Information

4.1 Engage: Read, hear, or view the information within a source.

4.2 Extract relevant information: Take notes from the resource that support your information problem. Identify possible quotes you may want to use in your final project.

5 Synthesis

5.1 Organize information from different sources: Gather all the information you have found and start thinking how it all fits together. You may want to make an outline of your final project.

5.2 Present the information: Package the information you have collected in a way that others can use it. For school, this is most often in the form of a written paper. If you have a choice, try something creative. You can create a PowerPoint presentation, a website, a poster or an interactive activity.

6 Evaluation

6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness): Edit and modify your completed project. Does it meet all requirements? Does it clearly convey the information you discovered? Are there any mistakes or errors in the way you presented your work?

6.2 Judge the information problem-solving process (efficiency): Think about all you have done in your search process. Did you manage your time wisely? What are strategies you learned that you can apply to other projects in the future? Did any of the information inspire you to do more research?

These steps are modified from the Big 6 Skills Model found here.