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Big 6 Research Process
Following these 6 simple steps will make researching fruitful and rewarding.
1. Task Definition
1.1 Define the information problem
1.2 Identify information needed
2. Information Seeking Strategies
2.1 Determine all possible sources
2.2 Select the best sources
3. Location and Access
3.1 Locate sources (intellectually and physically)
3.2 Find information within sources
4. Use of Information
4.1 Engage (e.g., read, hear, view, touch)
4.2 Extract relevant information
5.1 Organize from multiple sources
5.2 Present the information
6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)
6.2 Judge the process (efficiency)
Take this interactive tutorial to learn about various aspects of the research process. The complete tutorial takes approximately 22 minutes. You can select specific modules to help with your individual needs.
The five modules are: (1) Selecting a Topic, (2) Finding Sources, (3) Selecting Keywords, (4) Identifying Citations, and (5) Evaluating Sources. This tutorial was created with the collaboration of the Rutgers University Libraries and the following programs and offices of the New Brunswick/Piscataway Campus: Office of Undergraduate Education, Office of Academic Engagement and Programming, Writing Program, Honors Program, and University College Community.
When starting your research it is a good idea to have a broad topic and then narrow it as you get deeper into your knowledge. Use this
Graphic Organizer to help you begin your research.
It is also a good time to visit places like
As you explore your topic, also explore new tools and search strategies. Refer to your Google search strategies handout in the Handouts box on the left of this pathfinder.
- Internet Public Library2
Librarian-maintained search directory of trustworthy content affiliated with authorities in the field.
- Sweet Search
A search engine that links students to evaluated web sites. Checkboxes next to results enable you to bookmark links, share to social networks, or add to a Google Doc.
Be sure to use the References and External Links sections at the bottom of Wikipedia articles for additional background resources.
Keywords are a good way to get to information that is really relevant to your topic. Usually when we search in Google we use natural language. This type of query involves typing in every word of the information need. With keyword searching we only need a few of the most pertinent words and as a result we get the best results.
Use familiar scholarly words "parent" instead of "mom". "Sibling" instead of "sis" or "sister". This video explains the importance of key word choice. It is 6 minutes long but will help with understanding the importance of defining your search before you set out.
There are many videos on You Tube to explain keyword searching these are a few good examples: