Information Literacy Models

Personal Reflection

I will be honest.  I was ready to leave the Masters of Education (Teacher Librarianship) course and switch to the Master of Information Studies course.  I was struggling so much with two particular issues – with the stark contrast between how they are portrayed in the modules and how I see them in real life.  Thankfully, I spoke with Dr Barbara Combes, our course director, who set me straight.  It was well worth talking with her.

Guided Inquiry

I’ve posted numerous times about my concerns with the guided inquiry model. You can find them here, here and here. Barbara validated my concerns with the model and I will no longer be concerned with it, except in my assignment when I justify my reasons for not using a guided inquiry model.

Other Models

Despite the excessive emphasis on the previously mentioned information literacy model, there are many other options available.  This Information Literacy Models slideshare has some great information to give you a starting point. Mandy Lupton also has a blog about Inquiry learning.

Herring’s PLUS Model

Herring’s PLUS model is an acronym – Purpose, Location, Use, Self-Evaluation.  It is not necessarily a linear process where a student proceeds from P to S in order, but one that a student may jump around from “letter to letter” as they engage in the information literacy process.

There is not a lot of information available online about this process.  I have two more research articles I would like to read on the topic and will add my thoughts here once I have read them.

Herring, J (2000) Theory into practice – using the PLUS model to teach information skills and support the curriculum in a secondary school in Howe, E (ed) Do you read me? Fourth International Forum on Research in School Librarianship. Malmo, Sweden

Herring, J E, Tarter, A-M and Naylor, S (2002) An evaluation of the PLUS model to develop pupils’ information skills in a secondary school School Libraries Worldwide 8(1) January 2002. 1-24

There are also three books about this model:

  • Herring, J E (1996) Teaching information skills in schools London, Library Assocation.
  • Herring, J E (1999) Exploiting the Internet as an information resource London, Library Association.
  • Herring, J E (2004) The Internet and information skills London, Facet Publishing.

Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

I used De Bono’s Thinking Hats for a group assignment in my undergrad.

Update 24/04/2018

I read a book by De Bono on the Six Thinking Hats.  In my opinion it is a valuable tool but it is NOT an information literacy model.  I read the book so you don’t have to.  I would not use this as my information literacy/inquiry model in my assignment although I would use it in a classroom situation.

Big Six

We did have a smattering of readings about Big Six (one compulsory and at least one other that was optional).



I read an article about this but couldn’t discern the difference between it and guided inquiry.  Actually, I think it might have been a GI article with “iLearn” in the title.  Here is a link on the I-LEARN model.

NSW Information Search Process

Information Skills in the School [pdf]

Information Search Process

Kuhlthau’s original thesis, which both Guided Inquiry and De Bono’s Thinking Hats derive from.

Inquiry Learning and the Australian Curriculum


Here are some more models listed in

IFLA School Library Guidelines

Appendix C:
Instructional Models for Inquiry-Based Learning

Some well-developed models of the inquiry-based learning process include: Michael Marland’s Nine Questions (United Kingdom)

Marland, M. (1981). Information skills in the secondary curriculum. Schools Council Methuen.

Stripling and Pitts’ REACTS Model (USA)
Stripling, B., & Pitts, J. (1988). Brainstorms and blueprints: Teaching research as a thinking process.Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

The Information Process (Australia)
Australian School Library Association and Australian Library and Information Association. (2001). Learning for the future: Developing information services in schools (2nd ed.). Carlton South, Australia: Curriculum Corporation.

Focus on Inquiry (Canada)
Alberta Learning. (2003). Focus on inquiry: A teacher’s guide to inquiry-based learning. Edmonton, AB: Alberta Learning, Learning Resources Branch.

Guided Inquiry (USA) stKuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21 century. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided inquiry design: A framework for inquiry in your school. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Schmidt, R. (2013). A guided inquiry approach to high school research. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

3 thoughts on “Information Literacy Models

  • 13th April 2018 at 4:23 AM

    Thanks Liz. I appreciate the extra work you’re putting in and the succinct summaries. 🙂

  • 17th April 2018 at 9:02 PM

    Hi Liz, thank you for sharing. I am a little worried that I have chosen a Masters that may be limiting, and I did look at the Info Science one.

    I think because I’m returning to study after too many years away, and it is a new area for me, my worry level is a little higher than usual. The return of my 2nd assignment will be the telling one – I handed it in without really feeling that I knew what I was doing.

    I now feel the same with Assignment 3, but we’ll see! Thank you for sharing your resources!

  • 30th April 2018 at 12:57 AM

    Thanks Liz, this is very helpful.
    I love reading your comments on the forum. Very feisty. Dictionary Definition: lively, determined, and courageous

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