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Step-By-Step with the The Big 6 Research ModelThe Big 6 logo



1. Task Definition
Teacher/Library Media Specialist Steps: Student Steps:
  • Based on a conceptual objective, select a unit of study.
  • Collaborate with LMS as needed in unit planning.
  • Help students identify their interests within the topic.
  • Assess students’ prior knowledge.
  • Help students formulate a relevant/essential question for investigation.
  • Decide upon a range of end-products.  Will students have an option of communication/presentation formats?
  • Help students manage the project by breaking it into steps with separate due dates.


  • Schedule a team/teacher LMS planning meeting.
  • Collaborate with your LMS to identify potential appropriate resources and plan integration of necessary skills.
  • Provide students with background information on the topic through books, center, posters, videos, experiences, speakers, field trips…
  • Model brainstorming and webbing to focus the topic and formulate questions.
  • Develop rubrics and tentative timeline (Decide due dates for steps).
  • Break project into steps.
  • Explore the topic.
  • Web ideas and questions about the topic.
  • Define the information problem.
  • Create your question to investigate.
  • Identify the information you need in order to complete the task.

Try these:

  • Ask: What do I know? What do I need to know? What do I want to know?
  • Explore through books, centers, posters, experience videos, speakers, field trips and discussions with family and friends.
  • Brainstorm individually or with your group; talk about your ideas with a classmate; create a web or list about the information you need for the task.


2. Information Seeking Strategies
Teacher/Library Media Specialist Steps: Student Steps:
  • Introduce or review a variety of resources, including print, electronic and human, stressing their characteristics/differences.
  • Teach the purpose and use of indexes, table of contents, cross-references and electronic resources.
  • Discuss and help select resources for appropriateness e.g. reading level, copyright, viewpoint and format.
  • Review short-cut strategies such as skimming and scanning, reading. captions subject headings, etc…
  • Help identify key words relevant to their topic, or question. Provide adequate time for instruction and for the search.


  • Agree who (LMS and/or teacher) teaches each part of the process.
  • Dialog possible sources with students Provide ongoing, “just in time” learning for specific research sources.
  • Determine the range of possible sources.
  • Evaluate the different possible sources to determine priorities.
  • List the best possible resources for your investigation/research.
  • Locate and gather a variety of resources.
  • Use search strategies to find information in each source.
  • Decide if you have enough relevant resources.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

Try these:

  • List key words and concepts.
  • Use indexes and table of contents to locate information.
  • Skim and scan information.
  • Scan illustrations, captions, charts, graphs and maps.
  • List the relevant resources you want to use again.



3. Location and Access
Teacher/Library Media Specialist Steps: Student Steps:

Teacher and LMS plan jointly to:

  • Introduce/review a variety of resources, including print, electronic and human, stressing their characteristics/differences.
  • Teach the purpose of indexes, table of contents, cross-references, and electronic resources.
  • Provide time for research/reading.
  • Check student work, helping to refine the question/task and choice of keywords.
  • Redirect focus as needed.
  • Suggest alternative sources as needed.
  • Locate, Gather, collect and document your sources.
  • Find information within the sources
  • Use keywords of task with the index and table of contents of books.
  • Do your resources provide you with all your needs for question/task?
  • If not then do you need to modify your question?

Try these:

  • Read and use a variety of sources including:
    • TPS Online databases
    • Internet sites
    • Books and journals
    • Broadcast materials
    • Experts




4. Use of Information

Teacher/Library media Specialist Steps:

Student Steps:

  • Provide students a format for taking notes and recording bibliographic data.
  • Discuss format for notes including use of databases, computer files, spreadsheets or note cards.
  • Continue to monitor student’s work and progress.
  • Suggest alternative sources as needed.
  • Engage in the source.
  • Read, listen view, touch and ask questions.
  • Take notes on relevant information from a source.
  • Document your source.


  • It’s OK not to understand
  • It’s OK to ask questions.



5. Synthesis
Teacher/Library Media Specialist Steps:

Student Steps:

  • Help students reflect and interpret the information they have found
  • Help students assess the information
  • Help students Organize the information
  • Instruct students on how to write a bibliography


Help students relate their finding to the essential question/task.

  • Teach organization techniques such as:
    • Color coding information
    • Outlining
    • Using note cards
    • Use of databases and spreadsheets

Help students compare and contrast information.

  • Teach the following assessment skills as needed.
    • Evaluating evidence
    • Recognizing distortion & over simplification
    • Distinguishing between fact & opinion
    • Recognizing bias/source’s perspective
    • Recognizing irrelevance
    • Recognizing expert sources
  • Organize information from multiple sources
  • Include a bibliography
  • Decide how you will put together your notes, and ideas:
  • Create an outline
  • Write a rough draft
  • Create a storyboard
  • Make a sketch

Ask yourself:

  • What is the most important information I found?
  • Do all my sources agree?
  • Have I changed my mind about anything?
  • What did I learn that surprised me?
  • What do I still need to find out?

Present the information by following your teacher’s guidelines




6. Evaluation
Teacher/Library Media Specialist Steps:

Student Steps:

  • Evaluate projects against rubric.
  • Provide feedback to students.
  • Discuss successful and unsuccessful search strategies with students.

Judge your product
(How effective were you)

  • Did you do everything and include all that required for the assignment?
  • Is your work neat?
  • Is your work complete and does it include heading information/title page (name, date, etc…)
  • Would you be proud for anyone to view this work?

Judge your information problem-solving process (How efficient were you?)

  • What did you learn that you can use again?
  • How will you use the skill(s) again?
  • What did you do well this time?
  • What would you do differently next time?
  • What information sources did you find useful?
  • What information sources did you need but did not have? Did you ask your librarian to help you get them?









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