Acquiring Information

To acquire new information you must:

  1. Choose suitable sources
  2. Select relevant information
  3. Review - When you get stuck


Choose Suitable Sources

Take the time to think about what sources are available to you, which are best suited to your task and will allow you to get the information in sufficient time.

Not all sources that contain information about your topic/question/task will be well suited to your needs.  Some will be too technical - for example, there will be many medical websites that contain highly technical definitions of meningitis and its symptoms but our task requires information suitable for parents. Some sources are quickly accessed (e.g. our own Information Centre), others take more time but are worth the wait (e.g. Dunedin Public Library).

Here are some sources to consider:

Fast Sources - We often need information in a hurry so start looking in some local resources.  The best place to start.

Slow and Steady Sources - There are some great services that you can use to acquire information from out of town.  Don't rule these out.

Pre-loved Sources - Your subject teachers have organised some sources they know and love.  Well worth a look.


Select Relevant Information

Key words and phrases can be used to find sources AND to find relevant information within sources.

For example:

  1. A keyword used in a search engine (e.g. Google) might lead you to a suitable website. 
  2. The website is likely to have an index, site map or navigation buttons where you can again use your keys to get quickly closer to the page you require. 
  3. Once on the page key word and phrases can be used to scan headings to locate the section you require.
  4. The section can then be scanned by you or the computer (using the Edit|Find command) to locate paragraphs that are likely to be helpful. 

In a similar way your key words and phrases can be reused with books too!

e.g. OPAC ð Book ð Index/Contents pageð Pageð Headingsð Paragraph ð   Infomation

Acquiring new information can lead you to new key words, phrases or seeking questions - which might then need to be tried with sources you have already visited!



Reviewing is an on-going process, not something that you do once.  Often the sign that you need to review is that you reach a dead end.  Below are some ideas of what you might do review at each stage.

Key words and phrases
  1. Add any new key words and phrases you discovered while acquiring information to your list.
  2. Look out for synonyms.
Define what you need to know
  1. Write new seeking questions because of new key words or phrases.
  2. Re-write old seeking questions using new synonyms.
  3. Change old seeking questions to improve them. eg. Change 'effects of meningitis' to 'symptoms of meningitis' or  'meningitis symptoms'.
Suitable Source
  1. To double check (validate) what you discovered from one source with another source.
  2. Find a source with more or better information.
  3. To find a source with information that is more relevant to your task.

When you think you have answered your seeking questions go on to use your information.  You can always go back and acquire more information if you need it.

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