The information process

The information process is the series of physical and intellectual steps that anyone  takes to complete an information task. Each step usually requires the use of several information skills. This process is generally a part of learning and problem-solving inside and outside the school.

View an outline of the steps of the information process, along with some of the key questions that information users can ask themselves as they proceed.

Information skills, expressed as objectives, are also shown for the process steps. They are applicable to all themes and subjects. Activities deriving from these objectives take place in every classroom, whether they are facilitated by the teacher or not.

A guided inquiry approach, and reference to other information process models, may further enrich the development of information literacy skills.

A diagram showing the Information Process (ISP)  with its six areas and how they are all interconnected. These areas are Defining, Locating, Selecting, Organising, Presenting and Assessing

Steps in the process

  • What is my purpose?
  • Why do I need to find this out?
  • What are the key words and ideas of the task?
  • What do I need to do?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • relate the task to their learning
  • clarify the meanings of the words of the task
  • identify and interpret key words and ideas in the task
  • state the task in their own words
  • work out the parts of the task.

Steps in the process

  • What do I already know
  • What do I still need to find out?
  • What sources and equipment can I use?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • recall relevant information and skills from previous experience
  • recognise strengths and limitations of current knowledge and decide whether additional information and/or skills are needed
  • limit an investigation to a manageable size
  • identify possible sources (people, organisations,places, print, electronic materials, objects)
  • recognise the relative worth of sources
  • select the best of these sources to use
  • locate sources and appropriate equipment
  • use appropriate equipment
  • record details of sources that are used.

Steps in the process

  • What information can I leave out?
  • How relevant is the information I have found?
  • How credible is the information I have found?
  • How will I record the information I need?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • begin to analyse the usefulness of each source
  • use key words to locate potentially useful information within sources
  • skim each source for information
  • identify information that has links with the task
  • assess and respect privacy and ownership of information
  • decide what to do about deficiencies with information
  • decide whether information is closer to fact or opinion
  • identify inconsistency and bias in sources
  • devise a system for recording and synthesising information
  • summarise information
  • record quotations and sources of information.

Steps in the process

  • Have I enough information for my purpose?
  • Do I need to use all this information?
  • How can I best combine information from different sources?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • review the purpose of the task
  • combine the information into larger units of information
  • combine the units of information into a structure
  • review the structure in light of the purpose of the task
  • adjust the structure where necessary.

Steps in the process

  • What will I do with this information?
  • With whom will I share this information?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • identify the requirements of different forms of presentation
  • consider the nature of the audience for the presentation
  • select a form and style of presentation appropriate to the audience and the content of the material
  • prepare the presentation
  • present the information.

Steps in the process

  • Did I fulfil my purpose
  • How did I go - with each step of the information process?
  • How did I go - presenting the information?
  • Where do I go from here?

Information skills

Students should be able to:

  • review the extent to which the end product meets the requirements of the task
  • assess their use of this process in completing the task
  • examine strengths and weaknesses in specific information skills
  • identify increases in knowledge
  • set personal goals for the further development of information skills.

Explore some sample student activities

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