Information Literacy

The Big6

The Big6 is an information problem-solving process that is widely used in schools and colleges. Its structure will help you complete classroom assignments, homework, and any other information need you have.

Step 1: Task Definition
a. Define the information problem
What is your assignment about? What are the requirements of your assignment? What are you supposed to do? What problem are you trying to solve? Ask your teacher to explain your assignment further if the assignment is vague. Create specific research questions.

b. Identify information needed in order to complete the task (to solve the information problem)
What do you need to know? What kind of information should you gather?

To help identify the information needed, one can list what is already known,and then what gaps in knowledge exist. A concept map is a graphic technique to organize informational needs.

Concept Mapping Web Resources:

Example: Your assignment is to write a term paper about a Philippine Literary Icon. And you chose N.V.M. Gonzalez. You need to know why he became a literary icon. Here are some questions you might look for to get information:

As you dig in for more information about N.V.M. Gonzalez, you will have more questions to ask. The questions above may give you starting points to look for the information you needed.

Step 2: Information Seeking Strategies
a. Determine the range of possible sources (brainstorm)
Where am I likely to find the answer? It can be from Books, Dictionary, Encyclopedia, Ready Reference Sources (Almanacs & Yearbooks, Handbooks, Directories), Biographical Sources (Biography, Autobiography, Genealogy, Biographical Dictionaries), Geographical Sources (Map, Atlas, Gazeteers, Guidebooks, Globe), Index, Government Documents, Serials, Interviews, or Websites.

b. Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities (select the best sources)
Carefully consider what are the best sources among your list. What are the most available to use? What are the most useful? Which source is best for answering the question or solving the problem?

When Searching Online:


Step 3: Location & Access

a. Locate sources
Know where you may get your sources. For finding a book browse through your library's card catalog. Know how your books are arranged in your library. . For journals or magazines look at your periodical indexes. Take the Library Tour for more details.

When looking for a website, make sure you list down the web address (URL). You might find what you need at Cool Links. If your sources is a person find out how you may contact him.

b. Find information within sources
How will you get the informartion you need? Look at your questions on your first step, Task Definition.

If you did concept mapping where your main idea/topic is in the middle look at the related words/sub-topics linked to your main topic. You may use these as your keywords when finding information on your sources.

When Looking at:

A Book: Look at the index or table of contents for your topic and keywords.
-Know more about the parts of the book read Using Parts of a Book from

An Encyclopedia: Use the index volume (usually the last volume in the set) for the topic and keywords.

Online Sources (Web sites): These usually have a FIND function, type in your keyword/s on the search box to find what you need.


Step 4: Use of Information

a. 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.What are the main ideas? What is the perspective?

b. Take out the relevant information from a source
Is this useful for the specific task at hand? To help comprehend the information, some people photocopy and highlight important sections. Sometimes people copy an online source onto the first of a two-column word processing program, and make comments/reflections in the second column. Other ways to document the information include timelines, graphic organizers and spreadsheets.

You may also take down notes of the important information you may find.

Citing Sources:

Note Taking:

Step 5: Synthesis
a. Organize information from multiple sources
How will you put your findings together? You may make an outline, write a draft, create storyboards, etc.

b. Present the information
Your teacher may give you guidelines to how you may present your findings. Make sure you follow your teacher's instructions. It may be an oral presentation, power-point presentation or a written term paper. Remember that whatever your final product be you should always cite your sources complying with copyright laws and intellectual property rights.

When presenting concider the following:

Writing Process:


Step 6: Evaluation
a. Judge your product (how effective were you)
Before turning in your assignment, compare it to the requirements that your teacher gave you. Consider the following:

b. 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? Reflect on the following:

You may want to create a scoring sheet for evaluating your work. Rate yourself by using scores in each item and see how well you did your final product.


Farmer, Lesley. Information Literacy for K-16 Settings.

Jansen, Barbara A. Big6 - A Good Way to Get Started.

The "Big6" is copyright (1987) Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz. For more information, visit:

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