Steps To Success

Essays and assignments are information tasks. You are usually asked to investigate a topic or answer a set of questions about it, showing your understanding of the facts and ideas you have read during your research. The best way to do this is to follow a series of steps called the 'information process':

The Six Steps of the Information Process

Understand the task

Read the task information and work out what you have to do.

  • Read the whole task sheet carefully.
  • Check the exact meaning of any terms you do not understand.
  • Highlight the keywords.
  • Find the key parts of the task.

Make your own topic plan if the task does not outline the parts you must cover.

  • Break down your topic into smaller parts if needed. You could use dot points or a mind map to do this.
  • Arrange the parts in a sensible order.
Locate information

Look for information in libraries and on the Internet.

  • Use the library's computer catalogue.
  • Use indexes and tables of contents in books.
  • Search the Internet and use online resources like newspapers and journals.
  • Ask the library staff.
Select and Analyse

Choose relevant information and makes notes from the best parts.

  • Check that the resources you use are up-to-date and trustworthy.
  • Collect information that is relevant and important to your task.
  • Make notes from the resources you read. Build an information file or fill in the sections of a task scaffold. GoogleDocs is a great tool to use for this.
  • Improve your topic plan as you understand more about the topic.
  • Start to put together your bibliography.
Organise and Synthesise

Combine information from the different resources you use into your own sentences and paragraphs.

  • Fit together information from the different resources used - in your own words.
  • Use headings, subheadings and paragraphs where appropriate to build the framework of your essay, report or presentation.
  • Check that you have covered all the required parts.
Create and Present

Present your information in an effective way.

  • Follow presentation instructions.
  • Present information clearly in a format appropriate to the task. Combine text, tables, diagrams, images etc. where appropriate.
  • Use word-processing and other computer applications to enhance the presentation.
  • Look for creative, original solutions to presentation challenges.
  • Edit your work carefully.
  • Make sure that your bibliography is written correctly and shows all the resources that have been consulted.
Evaluate and Reflect

Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your attempt at the task.

  • Read the teacher's feedback carefully.
  • Evaluate how well you coped with the assignment.
  • Look for areas that need improvement.
  • Seek help with finding the best ways to make improvements.





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