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Big 6+ ELA Projects: Big 6+ Inquiry

Big6+ Inquiry Process--Important Documents

Inquiry Process created by OPS Library Services for use in the Omaha Public Schools based on the Eisenberg and Berkowitz Big6 model and featuring elements from Barbara Stripling's Model of Inquiry and the Six Traits of Writing.

Big6+ Inquiry Process

The Big6 is a proven approach to information problem-solving.  It helps you succeed in school and in life.  Use the Big6 to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs or tasks (Graphic Source:

The Big6™

Developed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz, the Big6 is the most widely known and widely used approach to teaching information and technology skills in the world. Used in thousands of K-12 schools, higher education institutions, and corporate and adult training programs, the Big6 information problem-solving model is applicable whenever people need and use information. The Big6 integrates information search and use skills along with technology tools in a systematic process to find, use, apply, and evaluate information for specific needs and tasks.

Why Big6™?

We all suffer from information overload. There’s just too much “stuff” out there, and it’s not easy to keep up. At the same time, there’s an irony—yes, we are surrounded by information, but we can never seem to find what we want, when we want it, and in a form we want it so that we can use it effectively.

One solution to the information problem—the one that seems to be most often adopted in schools (as well as in business and society in general)—is to speed things up. We try to pack in more and more content, to work faster to get more done. But, this is a losing proposition. Speeding things up can only work for so long. Instead, we need to think about helping students to work smarter, not faster. There is an alternative to speeding things up. It’s the smarter solution—one that helps students develop the skills and understandings they need to find, process, and use information effectively. This smarter solution focuses on process as well as content. Some people call this smarter solution information literacy or information skills instruction. We call it the Big6.


The Big6 Skills are best learned when integrated with classroom curriculum and activities. Teachers and library media specialists can begin to use the Big6 immediately by:

  • Using the Big6 terminology when giving various tasks and assignments
  • Talking students through the process for a particular assignment
  • Asking key questions and focusing attention on specific Big6 actions to accomplish.


Big 6+ Inquiry Process

Task Definition

  • Asks, Creates, and Refines Questions for Inquiry
  • Determines Path for Inquiry
  • Identifies Intended Audience
  • Understands Rubric Expectations and Product Components

Information Seeking/Location and Access

  • Understands the Organization of the Library
  • Identifies Possible Sources of Information
  • Seeks Information from Diverse Genres, Formats, and Points of View
  • Uses Information Seeking Strategies to Locate Information within a Variety of Sources
  • Evaluates Sources of Information

Use of Information

  • Makes Sense of Information by Clarifying Main and Supporting Ideas
  • Looks for Patterns and Connects Ideas Across Resources
  • Organizes Information by Using a Variety of Tools & Strategies
  • Uses Information Ethically

Synthesis and Sharing

  • Compares New ideas to Prior Knowledge and Draws Conclusions by Integrating New Ideas with Prior Knowledge
  • Creates Product to Express New Learning and Chooses Presentation Format Based on Requirements, Audience, and Personal Strengths


  • Reflects on the Inquiry Process


Layout and content adapted  with permission from the Inquiry Model Teacher’s Guide developed by WSWHE BOCES, Paige Jaeger – Facilitator, 2011.

Esienberg, Michael B. and Robert E. Berkowitz. The Big6 Workshop Handbook: Implementation and Impact, Fourth Edition. Santan Barbara, CA: Linworth, 2011.

American Association of School Librarians. 2009. Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action.. Chicago: American Association of School Librarians.

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531-299-9822).