The Information Search Process Starting the research task, you are at the beginning of a journey.This is a journey that you’ll repeat many times in your life at school and work. It’s not a simple journey, and may be likened tothe progress a river makes from its source to the sea.
Information Search ProcessCarol Kuhlthau began her investigation on how students research20 years agoShe found out that they did things on at least three levels – thinking,feeling and acting - and that doing research particularly involvesstrong feelings.Kuhlthau has since done many studies and found people all theirlives all go through the same process and tasks and feelings whilethey are searching for and dealing with new information.It may help you to know that the rollercoaster of feelings youexperience as you do an assignment is completely normal.Everyone feels the same!
Introducing the Information Search Process Stages of Initiation Selection Exploration Formulation Collection Presentation Assessment Information Search Task You You seek a You develop You collect in You synthesise Teacher/peer/ Process introduced choose broad your line of depth your information self. your area understanding enquiry and information and plan essay of interest of the topic. area of and take debate notesFeelings Uncertainty Optimism Confusion Clarity Sense of Satisfaction or Sense of(Affective) Frustration direction / Disappointment accomplishment Doubt Confidence THE DIP!Thoughts Vague Vague Confused Focused Increased Increased Increased self-(Cognitive) interest interest awarenessActions Seeking relevant information Seeking pertinent information(Physical) Exploring Documenting
The research river: Initiation Research can be likened to a river’s progress. At its source, the river’s flow is weak and undirected. In the Initiation stage of an assignment you may feel lost and uncertain as to the path you might take.
The research river: Selection This is a peaceful and happy part of the research river. You browse some shallows and get surface information on a few topics to help you choose the one you like.
The research river: Exploration As water is added to the river, it carves a channel for itself and soon forms a series of rapids. You’ve chosen your area of interest, but as you seek information, you find there’s quite a lot of it!
The research river: Exploration You may even plunge headfirst over a waterfall - unsure of what lies below it – THE DIP! At this stage of the research process it is normal to fall into the dip – to feel overloaded, and confused! Especially when you don’t particularly care about the assignment question!
The research river: Formulation It is only after you’ve researched widely, navigated the flood of information that you feel strong and confident. In the process, some of the water is left behind. You are happy with your enquiry question and you are streaming ahead to the sea. You feel confident and focused now.
The research river: Collection The flow of the river has been controlled. You are now in charge of the information. You are sorting it, controlling it, shaping it to answer your question.
The research river: Presentation Finally, as you approach your destination, you may be faced with choices (What exactly is the shape of my essay?)… Which path will you take?
The Research river: Assessment• You’ve conquered the raging river! You are basking in a calm river, peaceful and happy with yourself.• Or maybe there’s a little hole in the dam you might need to fix next time… Thanks for the River analogy, Di Laycock! And thanks to Randi Schmidt for the research as journey idea! All cartoons are taken from free archive at www.lastlemon.com/dailydose