The Research Process

At Spring Hill High School, we use the Big 6 Information Problem Solving Model to guide you through the research process.  The Big 6 helps you "think about your thinking," a process called metacognition. Planning and thinking about your approach to research will enable you to become a more effective learner. 

Step 1. Task Definition 

What do I need to do?
What questions do I need to answer? Focus on the essential question.
What are the requirements? 
What should my end product be?
How will it be graded?
When is the project due? 
What do I already know and what information will I need to find?
What is my topic?


Step 2. Information Seeking Strategies & 

Step 3. Location & Access

How will I find the information I need?
What resources will I need?
How will I determine that my sources are valid?

Recommended Resources 

1. Search the library catalog for books, eBooks and databases.

DestinyLibrary Catalog

Books, eBooks, OneSearch databases

2. Gale Cengage Database

Gale Virtual Reference Library

eBooks on innovation, history, energy, business and more.

Students,click herefor the password.

3. State Library Databases

MasterFile Premier

Magazines, Journals and more (State Library of Kansas)

Explora for High Schools

Academic Search Premier

Academic Journals

Newspaper Source Plus

Newspapers from around the world

Encyclopedia Brittanica

Encyclopedia articles, of course

All Kansas databases

Other subject-specificdatabasesprovided by theState Library

Helpful hints for using the state databases:

  • Use the limiters in the left column refine your search.
  • Always choose "Full Text."
  • If your topic is too broad, the "Subject" limiter is very useful in narrowing your topic.
  • Use "Advanced Search" to perform a Boolean search, search by publication and many other limiters. Need help with an advanced search?
  • Can't access the state library databases at home? Click here for help.
4. Reliable Web Sites
  • If you are using a search engine, like Google, to search the Internet, YOU must determine if the information is reliable. How? By evaluating your sources.
Evaluate your sources!Use this rubric to help you determine if a website is an appropriate source for your research.Website Evaluation Rubric (pdf, 83.9KB)

Step 4. Information Use 

Read, listen, view. 
Pull out the information applicable to your topic.

Take notes!  

Paraphrase and summarize in your own words. Here are some note-taking options: 

       a. Use index cards. 
       b. Go digital.

    1. Use our Electronic Note Card template in Google Drive. Or use this simplified note card.
    2. Use Evernote to organize your research.
    3. Use Citelighter! Gather information, take notes and keep your citations all in one place. 
           View a quick video on how to use Citelighter.

    Cite your sources!

    Remember to cite your sources as you go. 

    Need help with your citations? Visit ourCitation Page.

    Step 5. Synthesis 

    Put your information together into a final product.

    Write a paper - This site about 6 Trait Writing can help you break down the writing process and make it easier to understand.

    Create a podcast - Use Audacity on your computer. You'll find it in the Start Menu.

    Create a video - Use Photo Story or Movie Maker on your computer.  Or use Animoto.

    Create a presentation - Use Power Point on your computer, Google Presenter, or Prezi.

    Step 6. Evaluation 

    If your teacher gave you a rubric or grading checklist, use it to make sure you've included everything before submitting your final product.
    What did I learn?
    What worked well?
    What will I do differently next time? 


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