titleinquiry logo

Pathways to Knowledge

The Pathways to Knowledge model sponsored by Follett was developed by Marjorie L. Pappas and Ann E. Tepe. Designed for children and young adults, the authors stress the importance of questioning and authentic learning. Their focus is on a nonlinear process for finding, using, and evaluating information.

In their book Pathways to Knowledge and Inquiry Learning (2002), Pappas and Tepe drew on the example of a fourth grade class in Kentucky that was concerned about the removal of a mountain top by a coal company. Working collaboratively, the classroom teacher and school library media specialist designed a learning experience to explore the issue. The project ultimately involved the students in testifying at legislative hearings and holding allies to promote public awareness of the issue. The children won the President's Environmental Youth Award for their project.

The Model

This nonlinear model was originally designed as a diagram rather than a series of steps. Students are encouraged to continuously explore and reassess as they process information.

The model includes the following stages:

Appreciation and Enjoyment
Examine the world.
"Individuals appreciate literature, the arts, nature and information in the world around them through varied and multiple formats, including stories, film, paintings, natural settings, music, books, periodicals, the Web, video, etc. Appreciation often fosters curiosity and imagination, which can be a prelude to a discovery phase in an information seeking activity. As learners proceed through the states of information seeking their appreciation grows and matures" (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p.4)

Develop an overview; explore relationships
"The Presearch stage enables searchers to make a connection between their topic and prior knowledge. They may begin by brainstorming a web or questions that focus on what they know about their topic and what they want to know. This process may require them to engage in exploratory searching through general sources to develop a broad overview of their topic and explore the relationships among subtopics. Presearch provides searchers with strategies to narrow their focus and develop specific questions or define information needs." (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p.6)

Identify information providers; select information resources; seek relevant information

"During the Search stage, searchers identify appropriate information providers, resources and tools, then plan and implement a search strategy to find information relevant to their research question or information need. Searchers are open to using print and electronic tools and resources, cooperative searching and interacting with experts." (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p.8)

Interpret information

"Information requires interpretation to become knowledge. The Interpretation stage engages searchers in the process of analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating information to determine its relevancy and usefulness to their research question or information need. Throughout this stage searchers reflect on the information they have gathered and construct personal meaning." (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p.16)

Apply information; share new knowledge

"The Communication stage allows searchers to organize, apply, and present new knowledge relevant to their research questions or information need. They choose a format that appropriately reflects the new knowledge they need to convey, then plan and create their product." (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p.19)

Evaluate process and product

"Evaluation (self and peer) is ongoing in their nonlinear information process model and should occur throughout each stage. Searchers use their evaluation of the process to make revisions that enable them to develop their own unique information seeking process. It is through this continuous evaluation and revision process that searchers develop the ability to become independent searchers. Searchers also evaluate their product or the results of their communication of new knowledge." (Pappas & Tepe, 2002, p. 21)

Learn More

Pappas, Marjorie L. & Tepe, Ann E. (2002). Pathways to Knowledge and Inquiry Learning. Libraries Unlimited.

Pathways to Knowledge

| SLIS-IUPUI | eduScapes | About | Contact Us | ©2005-2011