The Big6 Research Method

Super 3 and Big 6 Glossary of Terms



Research question

What do I (the student) want to find out about a given subject?


Information problem

Determine what information is already known and what needs to be known to answer the research question.



Coming up with many ideas for a topic to be researched.


Thesis statement

The main idea of the work, not a given fact, which must be argued from at least two points of view.



Researching (looking for) material to support (backup) thesis statement or to answer the research question.



Record questions

Document the information that needs to be located as part of the research.


Appropriate keywords

Words or phrases which may be associated with the topic being researched.


Graphic organizer

A visual aid used to relate ideas to each other that are associated with the topic to be researched (concept maps, Venn diagrams, word webs, etc.).




Print and non-print information used as part of the research.


Print information

Sources which are produced on paper (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.).


Non-print information

Sources not produced on paper (internet sites, personal interviews, videos, databases, etc.).



Putting relevant information in order of importance.


Effective searches

Strategies that are utilized to access relevant information from print and non-print sources to support the thesis statement or research question.



Text features

Parts of a source, print and non-print, utilized to efficiently locate relevant information within its text (table of contents, indexes, headings, copyright page, etc.).



Conclusion(s) drawn from the research process.


Value judgment

Determining if bias exists within a source, print and non-print.


Primary source

Original document or person with direct knowledge of a subject.


Secondary source

Information presented, print and non-print, based on primary sources.



A document or person with expert knowledge of the subject being studied.



Information presented that has flaws, omissions, or bias.



Electronic tools

Sources accessed electronically (online public access catalogs, databases, internet sites, etc.).


Electronic menus

Headings displayed to aid in navigating the electronic devices utilized while researching a given subject.


Electronic database

Electronically organized collection of information from a variety of sources, print and non-print.


Advanced electronic searches

Searching techniques utilizing more than one keyword.


Boolean search

An advanced electronic search which utilizes the operators “and”, “or”, “not” between a strand of keywords.


Search engines

A software program within a database which gathers and reports information which contains or is related to the specific keywords indicated (Google, Yahoo, etc.).



Search techniques

Methods used to effectively access print and non-print sources (online public access catalogs, indexes, search engines, databases, etc.) to locate the relevant information within.



A method of connecting electronic information from one page to another via the internet.


Graphic clues

Information gathered from visual aids.



Information presented in a format to be looked at and analyzed with limited textual information provided (charts, graphs, tables, maps, pictures, etc.).



Read quickly and lightly to locate relevant information.



Supporting fact

Relevant information that backs up the thesis statement or answers the research question posed.



Extract relevant information

Identifying and documenting the supporting facts found during the research process which back up the thesis statement or answer the research question posed.



American Psychological Association style guide for citing sources utilized as part of the research process. (K-12th grade).



Modern Language Association style guide for citing sources utilized as part of the research process. (11-12th grade).



Information taken and copied, word for word, from sources utilized as part of the research process.




A decision made or an opinion formed after analyzing the relevant information found in the sources utilized during the research process.




Electronic resources (word processing programs, the internet, databases, multimedia programs, eBooks, etc.).



Restate in your own words.



To share/present the results of one's research with others through a variety of formats (written report, oral report, multiple media report, poster, etc.).



Produce research findings in a format others may read, see, or hear.


Copyright laws

Federal laws pertaining to the ownership of a given piece of work.



Recapitulate the information found during the research process.




Common guidelines for evaluating an assignment based on a standard of performance for a defined population.

What is the Big6?

Big6 is a six-stage model to help anyone solve problems or make decisions by using information. Some call it information literacy, information communication, ICT skills, or a process.

Big6™ 1 Task Definition

  • Restate the assignment.
  • Write the broad topic.
  • Develop research questions.

Big6™ 2: Information Seeking Strategies

  • Consider all of the types of information resources that are available (books, web, articles, etc.)
  • Decide which sources to use.

Big6™ 3: Location & Access

  • Gather sources.
  • Skim through each resource to find useful information.

Big6™ 4: Use of Information

  • Read, view, and listen to sources as you look for answers to your research questions.
  • Record notes and write down sources using sheets or cards.
  • List the sources you will use on a bibliography sheet or cards using APA style.

Big6™ 5: Synthesis

  • Organize information using graphic organizer, outline, or notes.

Present information and conclusions.

Big6™ 6: Evaluation

  • Evaluate the product you produced.
  • Decide what parts of the research process worked.