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Big6 – Information literacy model

The Big6™ is a process model for information problem-solving. It 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. The Big6 was developed by Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz and is the popular approach to teaching information and technology skills for schools and HEIs in the world.

Here is the summary of Big6 model using experience, considered as a framework for searching:

Big6 Tasks Questions to ask yourself
STEP 1:          Task definition
  1. Define the problem
  2. Identify the information need
  • What does my teacher expect me to do?
  • Do I understand what I need to do?
  • What are the questions I need to answer?
  • What do I need to know about the topic?
STEP 2: Information seeking strategies
  1. Identify all resources
  2. Select the best resources
  • Where can you start to look for information?·
  • Who can I talk too to get information?
  • What are the best sources to use?
STEP 3:  Location and Access
  1. Locate resources
  2. Find information in resources
  • Where can I find these resources?
  • How do I search to get to them?
  • Where do I find the information in the resource?
STEP 4:            Use of information
  1. Read, view information – decide which parts you want to use (and leave out)
  • What type of information did I find?
  • Will the information answer the questions I have?
  • How do I write notes on the information?
  • Is the information reliable?
STEP 5: Synthesis (Putting Puzzle together)
  1. Organize resources
  2. Present the information
  • How do I fit all the information together
  • How do I write an outline of the project?
  • How do I present the information to my teacher to answer the question?
  • Did I remember to make notes of all the sources for the  bibliography?
STEP 6: Evaluation
  1. Judge the product
  2. Judge the process
  • Did I solve the problem?
  • Did I write the project in a format that will be understood?
  • Will I do anything different the next time?
  • What did I learn?
  • Am I pleased with the project?

More information can be retrieved from:


Internet resource evaluation

All information, especially online content requires critical evaluation. We can apply the CRAAP test to determine the credibility and reliability of an e-source:




The timeliness of the information


  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or out-of date for your topic?
  • Are the links functional?
RELEVANCY The importance of the information for your needs


  • Does the information relate to your topic or answer your question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too elementary or advanced for your needs)?
  • Have you looked at a variety of sources before determining this is one you will use?
  • Would you be comfortable using this source for a research paper?
AUTHORITY  The source of the information


  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author’s qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source?

Ex: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .gov (V.N. government), .org (nonprofit organization), or .net (network)

ACCURACY The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the content


  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed or refereed?
  • Can you verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?
PURPOSE The reason the information exists


  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Note: The CRAAP test was developed by librarians at CSU Chico

Please always remember this:

Referencing and citations skills

The most important thing when citing and referencing is to be consistent.


What is Citation?

Citation is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, such as:

  • information about the author
  • the name and location of the source
  • the date
  • the page numbers of the material you are citing

Why Should We Cite?

  • Acknowledged your sources of information
  • Read around the subject
  • Taken on board related research
  • Explored others’ opinions
  • Checked your facts
  • Substantiated your arguments
  • Contribute to the impact of the research
  • Come to your own conclusions

What are Citation & Referencing?

Referencing is used to acknowledge the books, journal articles and other sources of information that you use when writing a paper. This is done by briefly referring to (citing) the sources of information in the text of your work, and by producing a corresponding, alphabetical list of references (or a bibliography) at the end of your work.

When Do I Reference?

  • Whenever you use QUOTES: using the words/phrases exactly as they appear. You should enclose the words/phrases in quotation marks “ ”.
  • Whenever you PARAPHRASE: using the ideas from the cited source but writing in different words, the content is unchanged.
  • Whenever you SUMMARIZE: expressing the main points in your own words, the content is unchanged.
  • Whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed

How Do I Reference?

To reference properly, you need to have:

  • In-text citation within the text of your work to distinguish another person’s ideas from your own. It often includes the author’s name, year of publication and page number if any.

Eg: Straus agrees with this, saying that scholars have presented the Rwandan genocide as “a state-organised, planned extermination campaign” (Straus 2004, p.86)

  • Full reference provides readers the complete information to identify the source. This is the reference list at the end of your work and contains the complete list of materials you have used.

Eg: Straus, S. (2004) ‘How many perpetrators were there in the Rwandan genocide? An estimate’. Journal of Genocidal Research, (6)1, pp. 85-98.

Keep in ming that there are many different referencing styles.

There are various citation styles,and normally fall into two categories:

  • Name and date, e.g. APA, Harward – the author’s name and date are put in the parentheses in the in-text citation, eg. (Bundy, 2004), and a separate list of the sources cited alphabetically by author at the end of the paper.
  • Numeric, e.g. Chicago, IEEE, MHRA – the in-text citation consists of a number that links to the footnotes, eg. [1]. At the end, there is a full bibliography.

Please choose suitable style that matches your faculty’s requirements.

Referencing style

APA referencing style is one of the most popular formats for academic writing. APA 7th is an author-date referencing style used in many subject areas, especially psychology, education, social science, etc. The guide is also based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. If you need to publish your articles or other work, you need to get information from the publishers as their requirements might slightly differ from this guide.

There are two parts in referencing:

  • In-text citation
  • Reference list entry (“References”)


Copy exactly the words, sentences, and paragraphs that the author uses

40 words or less

  • Use quotation marks to close the quote;
  • Including author, publication year and page number.


Narrative: According to Otung (2021)“Optical fiber has numerous advantages over radio and copper lines as a transmission medium” (p.20)

Parenthetical: Optical fiber has numerous advantages over radio and copper lines as a transmission medium (Otung, 2021, p.20)

When the page number is not available, use the paragraph number for sources


“The energy invested in building materials and construction is significant” (Kibert, 2016, para.4)

More than 40 words

  • Start with an independent block of text without quotation marks and indented from the left edge.
  • Add addition information like: name of author, publication year, and page/paragraph number in parentheses. 


Distance education is a new trend in education that has benefited from developing information technology and tries to make the best use of new technologies for different geographical locations. That is why cloud computing is an attractive environment for students, teachers, and researchers. (Al-Malah et al., 2021, p.4)


Paraphrasing is rewriting someone else’s ideas by writer’s own words.

Use the author-date citation system


A literature review is a written document that presents a logically argued case founded on a comprehensive understanding of the current state of knowledge about a topic of study. Paraphrasing: A literature review is a document that provides a reasonably argued argument based on background of the existing information on a particular subject (Machi & McEvoy, 2016).


When using several sources to support an argument or explain a consensus in your writing: All references are mentioned alphabetically in the same set of brackets in the in-text citation; Use semi colons to separate the citations, and reference list entry must be provided for each source. 


Various studies reports that Covid-19 has potential impact on environment (Cheval et al., 2020; Verma & Prakash, 2020; Sarkar et al., 2021; Shakil et al., 2020)


Published in the same year

Two or more than two publications of an author in the same year must be separated by the expansion of a, b, etc. (whether or not they were composed, altered, gathered or deciphered), and are recorded in order by titles.

All work titles in the reference list order sequentially.

In-text citation

(Nguyen & Choi, 2009a). Nguyen and Choi (2009b) affirmed that…

Reference list

Nguyen, Q.-H., & Choi, S.-B. (2009a). Dynamic modeling of an electrorheological damper considering the unsteady behavior of electrorheological fluid flow. Smart Materials and Structures, 18(5), 055016.

Nguyen, Q.-H., & Choi, S.-B. (2009b). A new approach for dynamic modeling of an electrorheological damper using a lumped parameter method. Smart Materials and Structures, 18(11), 115020.

Published in different years

In the reference list, arrange the references in the chronological order.

In-text citation

Ahn and Le (2014) and Le et al. (2021) state….

Reference list

Ahn, H., & Le, M. H. (2014). An insight into the specification of the input-output set for DEA-based bank efficiency measurement. Management Review Quarterly, 64(1), 3–37.

Le, M. H., Afsharian, M., & Ahn, H. (2021). Inverse frontier-based benchmarking for investigating the efficiency and achieving the targets in the Vietnamese education system. Omega, 102427.


With authors have the same family name when referring to two or more titles, include the first author’s initials name in intext citations and arrange the references in the chronological order.

In-text citation

(P. M. Ryan & Ryan, 2013); (H. J. Ryan, 1901)

Reference list

Ryan, H. J. (1901). The transformer for measuring large direct currents. Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, XVIII, 165–190. Ryan, P. M., & Ryan, P. M. (2013). The Dreamer. Scholastic Inc.


Cite the original author when:

– The original source quoted by the secondary source;

– When a secondary source discusses a certain topic and writer repeat the study’s findings or arguments without consulting the primary source;

– Use the author-date citation system from the original source (author, year of publication and add “as cited in (Author and publication year of secondary source).”

– The reference list includes only the secondary source.

In-text citation

“Refers to one’s on-line awareness of comprehension and task performance” (G. Schraw & Moshman, 1995, as cited in Follmer & Tise, 2021, p.3).

Reference list

Follmer, D. J., & Tise, J. (2021). Across-task relations among monitoring judgments: Differential effects of item feedback on monitoring bias during reading. Learning and Individual Differences, 88, 102007.

Assistive Software

Managing References

Citation management software helps to:

  • organize references, PDFs, and images
  • take notes and give tags on references and PDFs
  • format bibliographies and in-text citations in a number of citations styles
  • share references and collaborate on projects with colleagues/friends

You can consider to choose the appropriate software that suits to your need.

We encourage you (VGU students) to use ZOTERO for managing references

Plagiarism & Copyright


Plagiarism is cheating and can be defined as “to copy (ideas, passages of text, etc) from someone else’s work and use them as if they were one’s own” (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, 1999). It is a serious offence whether it is accidental and unintentional use. To avoid plagiarism, the sources you use and refer to must be properly cited and referenced.

You can get more information via this interesting Plagiarism video


Copyright is an Intellectual Property Right along with Trade Marks, Patents and Designs. Copyright gives economic and moral rights to the creators of works, and provides a legal framework for such works to be used fairly by others.

  • Copyright owners have rights to take legal action against users who violate the copyright.
  • Heavy penalties from the court will be applied to users who offend against the copyright materials, namely changing the content of the materials, reproducing the materials, delivering the materials to the Internet and converting the materials to other forms. If you wish to do any of these, please obtaining the permission from the authors.


Sample  References

(from Curtin library)