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Gawith's Action Research Model

Information literacy is partly about finding out information, partly about the need for accuracy and precision, but all about interpretation. There are a few different information literacy models that teachers could integrate into their classroom programme. For a range of these see

The stages of research (Gawith, 1991) are all linked. Students will move back and forth between the different stages as they find new information and modify their research questions.

The Six Stages of the Action Research Model are: deciding, finding, using, recording, presenting, and evaluating


Stage 1: Deciding

There are a number things to consider prior to the students taking part in the research:

  1. Determine what they need to know to do the research. Is the research task achievable? Do they understand they topic? How long have they got to complete it? How will they present their information?
  2. Determine what they already know. Brainstorm what they already know, then sort what they know into categories and map it using a concept map.
  3. Highlight key words from their map that will help them in their search for information.
  4. Decide what they need to find out. List key questions they need to ask.

During this, teachers need to provide support to the students by:

  • modelling and discussion,
  • negotiating achieving research tasks
  • providing guidelines about process, product and assessment criteria, for example, a rubric
  • providing of examples of finished products and marking them as a class according to assessment (similar to an exemplar)

Stage 2: Finding

Students need to determine where to find the information they will need. They could include:

  • people in the school and community
  • organisations
  • school and public libraries
  • print resources, including books, encyclopedias, magazines, pamphlets and newspapers
  • electronic resources, including the internet, TV, radio and video
  • maps, posters and charts, atlases

Teachers should provide support through:

  • working with the librarian or library aide to identify and collect resources
  • help students see that the library is but one source of information available to them
  • demonstrate how to use resources e.g. contents, indexes
  • provide time for students to become familiar with resources
  • where possible, enable students to have their own copy of a resource
  • give students the opportunity to review their research questions


Stage 3: Using

At this stage, students should focusing on their focus questions. They should scan to get a feel of the whole text and skim by zooming through the text quickly to spot key words from their brainstorms and mind maps.

Teachers should provide support to the students by

  • demonstrate how to read a non-fiction text
  • sharing their feelings and problems with research reading
  • demonstrating the skills of scanning and skimming
  • Taking mini lessons on how to take notes

These sorts of skills can be integrated with the reading programme in the classroom.


Stage 4: Recording

At this stage, students should focus on what is most important and organise their information with presentation in mind. They should read through all the information before making notes in point form. They should use their focus questions and key words to help focus their notes and record only what they need to know.

Teachers should provide support through

  • using collaborative talk to help students clarify points and meaning
  • helping students select information from their notes
  • suggest ways of ordering information
  • teaching the skills of categorising, sequencing and drafting


Stage 5: Presenting

When presenting information (in this unit it will be in the form of a rubric), the children should remember some important things:

  1. Who is the audience the presentation for?
  2. What do I want to say?
  3. How am I going to communicate it?

Students need to think about how to present their information in ways suitable to context, purpose, topic and audience. They will need to the process of drafting and re-drafting their work, seeking the advice of the teacher and their peers while doing this.

Teachers should provide their support by:

  • modelling different forms of presentation
  • modelling the drafting and re-drafting of information for presentation
  • using previous students’ work and real life examples  just like an exemplar
  • discussing a range of presentation possibilities: booklets, posters, PowerPoint presentations, Front Page, diaries, pamphlets, instructions, essays, newspaper reports, charts, diagrams, debates, advertisements, drama, etc.
  • inviting a range of people to act as an audience and encouraging the children to be a good audience


Stage 6: Evaluating

Students should reflect on their learning and performance as a researcher throughout the research process. At the end, they should evaluate what they did well and what not so well and establish skills for their next learning step. The children should also think about what they would do if they were to take their research even further.

The teacher should provide support by:

  • provide guidelines for teacher assessment, form examples, sharing a rubric or analysing exemplars
  • providing guidelines for peer assessment
  • provide guidelines for self assessment


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