Information Literacy Process


Defining Defining

What is the problem I have to solve?

  • What are the key ideas, words and questions that define the task?
  • Am I being asked to investigate, explain, describe, analyse or persuade?
  • How will that shape the information I need and my response?
  • What information do I need?
  • What do I already know about the topic/issue?
  • What more do I need to find out?
  • What focus questions can I develop to guide my information search and my response?
  • What form does my response need to take?
  • Is its purpose to inform, explain, describe, analyse or persuade?
  • What will be the best way to conduct this investigation?
  • What is the timeframe for the response?
Locating Locating

Where can I find the information I need?

  • Which sources would best meet my needs?
  • Should I
    • use primary or secondary sources
    • conduct interviews
    • collect data through surveys
    • undertake observations and/or experiments
    • examine images such as photographs, maps, and charts
    • rely on print or electronic media sources
  • Should the majority of the resources be factual or based on opinions and perspectives?
  • How can I identify the purpose of the resource?
  • Where can I find those resources?
  • Do I need help to find those resources?
  • How can I ensure that the source is authoritative, accurate, current, objective and relevant?
  • Does the resource suit the purpose of my information need and my response?
  • How will I cross-check my information to confirm its accuracy?
Selecting Selecting

How can I search these resources effectively?

  • Which main ideas am I looking for?
  • Are there any cues and clues to help me navigate the resource such as a contents page or a menu?
  • Which search terms will be the most effective for locating the relevant information?
  • How can I use headings and topic sentences to identify relevant information?
  • How will I record my information so that I can use my own words to present it?
  • Are there any critical quotes that I can use to give my work authority?
  • What examples and explanations can I provide as evidence for my argument?
  • Are the ideas, information and images attributed to their sources so that I know the information is authoritative?
  • Are there references or links to other resources so I can cross-check the information or learn more about the topic?
  • Does the information I have selected address the task set?
  • How will I credit my sources?


What is this information telling me?

  • Is this information a factual report or an opinion piece?
  • What is the author’s purpose for writing it?
  • What evidence do I have to confirm this such as
    • Is it designed to persuade, inform or entertain?
    • Who has taken responsibility for this information?
    • Is that person/organisation an authoritative source?
    • From whose perspective has it been written?
    • Do they have a vested interest in this cause?
    • What view of the world is it presenting?
    • Is it satrical or a parody?
    • Has it been written to confirm, challenge or change my opinions?
    • Are the arguments supported by credible evidence?
    • Is there an underlying message being pushed?
    • Have alternative perspectives been offered without bias?
    • Whose voice is not heard?
  • Does this resource still meet the purpose of my information need and my response?
Organising Organising

How can I organise my information so it is connected, cohesive and coherent and  I understand it better?

  • Would a graphic organiser be an appropriate tool?
  • Does the information need to be in a special order?
  • How can I use headings and images to make my message clearer?
  • Is my information expressed in my own words?
  • Is my response sensible, logical, cohesive and coherent? 
  • Is it arranged in paragraphs with clear topic sentences and supporting details and evidence?
  • Can I summarise some of my information in a table, chart or graph?
  • Are the accompanying illustrations relevant to the information?
  • Have I explained their pupose?
  • Is there an opposing perspective I have to consider and include?
  • Have I answered the focus questions and addressed the task set?
  • Is there a rubric to guide the standard of content and format?
  • Do I need more information?
  • Have I collated a Reference List in the required format?
Presenting Presenting

How can I share my information with others?

  • What is the purpose of the presentation – to inform, explain, analyse or persuade?
  • How will this shape the nature of my presentation?
  • Who would be interested in this information?
  • Do I need a public or personal audience?
  • What are the needs of that audience?
  • What is the best format to demonstrate my learning and meet those needs?
  • What are the essential elements of this format/medium that I need to include?
  • Are the content and purpose of my message clear and not obscured by eye-candy such as fancy fonts and intrusive backgrounds?
  • Do the images I’ve used enrich and enhance the main message?
  • Have I included everything I want to share?
  • How can I present it with confidence and competence?
 Assessing Assessing

What have I learned from this?

  • Did I address the task and answer the questions?
  • Did I use the rubric to guide my response well?
  • How have my skills improved?
  • Which parts did I do really well?
  • Which parts would I change if I did the assignment again?
  • Which parts do I need support with in the future?
  • How well did I contribute to the work of my group?
  • Did I manage my time well?


Where to from here?

  • How does what I have learned connect with what I already knew?
  • How have my knowledge and understanding been confirmed, challenged or changed?
  • How does what I have learned help me make sense of the world?
  • What have I learned that I need to remember for
    • a short time
    • a longer time
    • the rest of my life?
  • Now that I know this, how can I use it?
  • Now that I know this, what action should I take?
  • Now that I know this, what new questions do I have?

Read about the information literacy hat

A pdf version of this page is available at  il_process_summary_2015

A rubric outlining a progression of development is available at info_lit_rubric

Barbara Braxton,

M.Ed.(TL), M.App.Sci.(TL), M.I.S. (Children’s Services)

500 Hats

February 2014


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The Information Literacy Process by Barbara Braxton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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23 thoughts on “Information Literacy Process

  1. Thanks Barbara,
    just following your comments on the nswtl site regarding Helen Fuller’s request for print information on the Information literacy process. I too will be doing something like her in my school this year so seeing how you approach it is great.

  2. Barbara,

    Thank you so much for posting this. It is like a curriculum template for teaching these skills. Thanks for continuing to work for our cause.

    This may be a second post as the website rejected my email address.

  3. Thanks Barbara, this is very clearly set out and user friendly. Thank you also for your constant support on the TL network.

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