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DMS_Mother Page: Big6

This guide is for assisting student with any research process.

What is the Big6?

  is a process model of how people of all ages solve an information problem. 

Big6 in Life

Deciding which movie to attend on Saturday night with your best friend

1. Task Definition

Figuring out that the only time that works out with you and your friend is the 7:00 pm show because your best friend needs to babysit until 6:30.

2. Information Seeking Strategies
Deciding to look online at the movie theaters in the area to determine what the show times of various movies.

3. Location and Access
Locating the various movie theater websites.

4. Use of Information
Reading the various movie theater websites and focusing in on showtimes.

5. Synthesis
Determine there are only two movies showing at 7:00 and selecting the movie to attend.

6. Evaluation
Realizing the website for one theater is better than the other theater in providing the necessary information needed to meet your task.

Big6 at Work

Reporting on five year product sales

1. Task
Producing a table and chart showing sales figures for the product and the salesperson over three years. Recognizing that reliable sales data over time is needed.

2. Information Seeking Strategies
Determining that there are at least three places were sales figures are kept: order fulfillment, accounting, and marketing.

3. Location and Access
Requesting raw data files from each of the above three departments.

4. Use of Information
Examining the various files and extracting data by relevant categories and years.

5. Synthesis
Using a spreadsheet to organize and compare data and sources. Using graphing capabilities to create a series of charts.

6. Evaluation
Rechecking to ensure your data is accurate. Getting feedback on your charts from co-workers.

Big6 at School

Completing an assignment for class

1. Task
Finding out that the task involves a two-page essay and realizing the key to success is using documented supporting evidence.

2. Information Seeking Strategies
Considering potential information sources and deciding that AH eResources newspaper and magazine artiles would work best.

3. Location and Access
Using AH eResouces to search for appropriate newspaper and magazine articles.

4. Use of Information
Reading what you find and typing notes into AH Apps, citing the sources.

5. Synthesis
Using AH Apps to create an outline, then drafting the essay.

6. Evaluation
Realizing your details are week in one of the two parts and that you should go back and find additional information.

Purpose of This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to help you find better information faster so you can hand in a good project. This guide will show you how to break down research tasks into more managemable chunks. Each "tab" will help you through various parts of the process.  

Big6/Little 12/Guiding ?

1. Task Definition
1.1 Define the information problem
1.2 Identify information needed to complete the task (to solve the information problem)
      What's the task?
      What types of information do I need?

2. Information Seeking Strategies
2.1 Determine the range of possible sources (brainstrom)
2.2 Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities (select the best sources)
What are the possible sources?
      Which are the best?

3. Location and Access
3.1 Locate sources (intellectually and physically)
3.2 Find information within sources
      Where is each source?
      Where is the information in each source?

4. Use of Information
4.1 Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch) the information in a source
4.2 Extract relevant information from a source
      How can I best use each source?
      What information in each source is useful?

5. Synthesis
5.1 Organize information from multiple sources
5.2 Present the information
      How will I organize all the information? 
      How can I present the result?

6. Evaluation
6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)
6.2 Judge the information problem-solving program (efficiency)
      Is the task completed?
      How can I do things better?

The Big6 is copyright Michael B. Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz.

Culture Grams

World Book Encyclopedia

Use Student link

General Information Encyclopedia


Magazine Database

Reference Books

Pictures and Illustration


General Information

Newspapers, magazines, books, video, radio transcripts, television transcripts

Discovering Collection

General Information Database

Gale Health and Wellness

Health Information Database

Student Research Center

Student Resources

Discovery Education

Opposing Viewpoints

Points of View

U.S. History

Big6 Skills Student Understandings

Big6 #1 - Task Definition


  • there is a problem to be solved
  • restating the problem in their own words aids in understanding
  • keywords in a question aids in understanding
  • asking good questions is important in solving a problem
  • printed and oral directions define the information task

Big6 #2 - Information Seeking Strategies


  • there are many different information sources that aid in solving a problem
  • some information sources provide more important information than others
  • information can be gathered from many sources, including investigation, observation, and human resources
  • there is criteria that should be applied before selecting a resource

Big6 #3 - Location and Access


  • there is a wide variety of resouces available
  • resouces need to be gathered to solve a problem
  • resources need to be evaluated to determine if they are useful
  • accessing resources from a variety of locations is desirable: information systems, online databases, online public access catalog, and electronic multimedia

Big6 #4 - Use of Information


  • facts are different than opinions
  • summarizing and paraphrasing from written and oral sources needs to be accurate
  • accurately citing sources is essential to research credibility
  • interacting with resouces (read, view, listen, etc.) is essential to acquiring and understanding information

Big6 #5 - Synthesis


  • information needs to be organized and presented in a clear, coherent fastion
  • information should be presented appropriate to the task
  • effective participation in discussion and debates leads to understanding
  • personally producing products communicates content 

Big6 #6 - Evaluation


  • there should be a high degree of confidence in a personally produced, quality product
  • assessing the product for completeness, strengths, and weaknesses is essential for determining quality
  • developing criteria to determine the effectiveness of the process used leads to understanding
  • recommendations improve results
  • there may be a need for further information based on the product's evaluation