“Google is not a synonym for research.”  
                                                          Dan Brown, The Lost Symbol


Systematic investigation or inquiry aimed at contributing to knowledge of a theory, topic, etc., by careful consideration, observation, or study of a subject.

Conducting research is a process.  Learning some simple steps can help make your work efficient and successful. With the help of this guide, you will learn the Big 6 Research Process. This approach can help you structure your research and can be applied to any research assignment with which you are faced.

The Research Process taken from the Big6 Research model

Task Definition
  • The most important step in the research process is to define the problem and identify the information you need in order to complete the task given by your teacher.
  • Brainstorm and determine the possible sources and select the best sources for the task.
Questions to ask that might help define your task
1. What kind of final product are you expected to present to the teacher?
  • Is it a written report?
  • An oral presentation?
  • A poster?
  • A multi-media presentation?
  • Or something else?

2. Does it have to be a certain length, size, or duration of time?

  • Do you have any freedom or choice in how to present your project? 

3. What is the topic of the assignment?
  • Does your teacher give you the specific topic of your assignment?
  • Do you have multiple topics to choose from?
  • Do you have to create a thesis statement (take a position, make an argument)?
  • Did your teacher give you a very general topic that you have to focus on a smaller topic?
4. What is the due date of your final product?

Helpful Hint: Get an assignment calendar and write any due dates in it. This will help you plan your time to get the assignment done by the due date. Most teachers will take off points from your grade for late work.

Information Seeking Strategies

Questions that might be helpful

  1. What sources can I use?
  2. Which sources are the best for me?

Location & Access
Locate the sources of choice and find information within these sources.
Helpful questions to ask yourself.

  1. Where do I go to find the sources I want?
  2. How can I find what I need in these sources?
  3. Who can help me if I don't know how to use the online catalog or find what I need?
  4. How do I find the information I need within the sources?
Tips for locating information
  • Books – Check the Destiny library catalog. You can search by title, author, subject or keyword.
  • Databases - Use the online databases. See Mrs. Fitzgerald for home access information.
  • Magazines - Students can browse the magazine collection for information or use the online databases.
  • Websites - The Internet has a vast amount of information for students. Use advanced searches and techniques to narrow your search topics. Remember to evaluate all your websites.

Use of Information

  • Read, listen, or view your resources and take out the most relevant information.
Helpful questions.
  1. What information does the source give me?
  2. Can I understand the information?
  3. What information can I use?
  4. How will I get the information out of the source?
  5. Does the information give me any other key words or phrases that I can use to lead me to other information?
  6. Am I ready to start putting a draft of my project together?

  • Organize your information from your sources. Present the information.
Ask yourself these questions.

1.  What presentation format does my assignment require? (paper, poster, oral presentation, etc.)

  • Go back and review your assignment sheet to be sure of what is required.
  • If you have a choice of some different formats, what did you decide earlier?
  • If you have complete freedom and didn't make a decision yet, look at Alternative Formats to Present Information.
2. What materials do I need in order to put together my presentation?
  • Bring all of your notes, images, disks, artifacts, etc., together into one place.
  • Have all of the tools you need to put it together; paper and pencil, computer disk, poster board, etc.
  • Work at a place where you can spread out and concentrate.
3. Give yourself the time you need to make a rough draft, edit it and make a final copy before the work is due.


You will need to get the access codes from the library for the databases.

Northwest ISD is not responsible for content on external sites or servers.