In this age of information, with new information streams coming at us in all
directions, strong research skills are needed now more than ever.
As the ALA says "The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of
information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of
information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a
complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively."
That's where Libraries come in! Well trained school librarians
are grounded in the belief that students must be explicitly prepared--for
academics, for career, and for life--with a set of skills to guide them
toward healthy and effective information consumption and creation.
These skills go beyond research to include problem solving, digital
citizenship (see Common Sense Media), and digital wellness.
One widely respected framework to organize research, supported by the University of Washington Information School is "The Big 6." Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, Big 6 founders, discovered that effective research can be broken down into 6 major steps:
Eisenberg and Berkowitz asserted that these skills must be parsed and taught systematically, with plenty of modeling, practice and support.
They also recognized that our youngest researchers benefit from further simplification and fewer steps. For K-3 learners, they have streamlined this process to just 3 steps, which they call "The Super 3."
A long-term goal of Cedar Park Library is to guide our students, through repeated practice, to internalize this research process. If we begin to teach these skills in kindergarten, and return to this familiar structure in projects throughout their elementary career, students will step into middle school as self-driven learners, effective researchers, and systematic problem solvers prepared to rise to new academic heights.