In my twenty five years as TL in various schools, I must say I was extremely surprised by the number of IL models that exist. Perhaps in Australia, we have been ‘indoctrinated’ by the NSW Department of Education endorsed model, The Information Skills Process, (NSW Dept. Education, 1989). It is still a personal favourite of mine and the one I have had most success teaching research skills with.
I am also a fan of Jamie McKenzie after attending an inservice run by him a few years ago, so was interested in looking at his Research Cycle. I had heard about The Big 6 and noticed that it is very similiar to the Information Skills Process (6 steps with slightly different names for the same thing). The other one is the PLUS model (HERRING), a little ambiguous for students to relate to I felt. Guided Inquiry, Research-based Learning and Project-Based Learning are similiar and have certainly been more favoured as effective research models in schools today. They encompass the ‘learner’ as a whole and focus on preparing students for ‘living and working in an information-rich technological environment’. (KUHLTHAU, MANIOTES,CASPARI, 2007, p. 2). Guided Inquiry has also been supported by evidence-based research, unlike other models. TLs for many years have promoted ‘lifelong learning’ – Guided Inquiry seems to ‘tick’ all the boxes for this! I have started to introduce some of the concepts of Guided Inquiry at my school, although so far I have found that students become a little ‘bogged down’ with the various steps and it has been quite slow to make any progress on. My classes are not co-operative, so I am on my own with 31 per class -mixed ability, Stage 3 students for one hour per week. I ‘guide’ as much as possible, but many are being left behind!