What is the Big6?

The Big6 is the process of solving information problems. The Big6 = Information Problem Solving!

You can do BIG things with Big6 Skills! The Big6 is a six-stage model to help anyone solve problems or make decisions by using information. Some call it information literacy, information communication, or ICT skills, or a process, but we call it the Big6.

Using the Big6 information literacy process, you will identify information research goals, seek, use, and assemble relevant, credible information, then to reflect— is the final product effective and was my process efficient. The Big6 information literacy process is completely transferable to any grade level, subject area, or workplace. Big6, state and national instructional standards, and your curriculum all work together hand-in-hand.

The Big6 information literacy skills can help your students in the following ways:

  • make sure you clearly understand the assignment
  • complete a task, research project, assignment, or decision-making activity
  • discuss the information process using specific terms
  • know if you missed a step in the information process, and identify which one
  • self-assess your work before you turn it in for review or grading
  • recognize credible information and cite sources
  • break any assignment into manageable parts and build confidence.

Developed by information literacy educators Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, the Big6 is the most widely-known and widely-used information literacy approach to teaching information and technology skills in the world. The Big6 is an information and technology literacy model and curriculum, implemented in thousands of schools – K through higher education. Some people call the Big6 an information problem-solving strategy because with the Big6, students are able to handle any problem, assignment, decision or task. Here are the six stages we call the BIG6. Two sub-stages are part of each main category in the Big6 model:

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. Synthesis
5.1 Organize from multiple sources
5.2 Present the information

6. Evaluation
6.1 Judge the product (effectiveness)
6.2 Judge the process (efficiency)

People go through these Big6 stages—consciously or not—when they seek or apply information to solve a problem or make a decision. It's not necessary to complete these stages in a linear order, and a given stage doesn't have to take a lot of time. We have found that almost all successful problem-solving situations address all stages.