The Big 6 Research Process
Following the Big 6 steps can help organize your search for information.
The Big 6 was created by professors at the University of Washington, and the information from their website summarizes and gives good examples of the steps of the research process.
Generally, when collaborating with teachers on research, I suggest a slightly revised model of the Big 6 research process where we:
- Define the problem (narrow and focus the research)
- Determine possible information sources (benefits of guided vs. independent)
- Evaluate resources (this is the part that is often the most difficult)
- Extract relevant information (How to pick what we need and how will we structure notes)?
- Synthesize the information (How will we put it all together)?
- Evaluate the results
The following Google Slideshow explains each of the steps in the process and gives examples and links to further information.
1. Print and out the search strategy paper on page 8 of the Common Sense Media Packet
2. Have students look at the search strategies and watch the Search Strategies Video
3. Discuss the video and the examples listed on the search strategies handout.
4. Then, have them select a research question, extract possible keywords, and then try the different strategies presented. You may also chose to do this together as a class for the first time as a guided activity before having students try it on their own.
Evaluating WebsitesSource EvaluationWhen you locate sources of your own to support your research, ask yourself questions in order to properly evaluate the site and see if it is a reliable, accurate resource that is useful. Look for the following attributes to determine if a site is one you would recommend:AUTHORITY: Who is the author or sponsoring institution? Are they an authority on the topic? What credentials do they have? What is the domain? Is it a personal site?PURPOSE: What is the goal of the site? Is the information relevant and useful for your needs and are you are part of the intended audience? Is the information accurate and objective?CURRENCY: When was the site published or last updated? Is the information current? Are there quality links to other information that are up-to-date? Is is comprehensive coverage of the subject matter?SITE APPEARANCE: Does the site exhibit proper grammar and composition? Does it look professionally done and is there a company logo? Are there distracting ads?Do you need further explanation or examples? Check out these videos:CAPS website examples --4 examples of evaluating websites using CAPS. Each chapter can be used separately.
Evaluation Practice Websites:
Use the Works Cited Quick Guide to get an overview and examples of using MLA 8. Download a copy of the template here too.
Check out the Works Cited Slides to view examples and a guided explanation
You may also refer to the OWL guide to help with specific examples
You might want to use Easy Bib online to help you too!