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Unit Standard No.12164Page 20


Hunt with a purpose. Once you’ve decided on your most likely sources of information, gather information from those sources. Don’t get sidetracked into irrelevant (but often very interesting) details. Refer back to your short sentence (or “mission statement”) to make sure that you stay focused.

When obtaining information from hard copy, it is often useful to go straight to the index to find what you want.

When obtaining information from people, compile a list of the questions you want to ask them. Be very clear and concise in your questioning, and don’t take too much time. If you are unfocused in your questions or take up too much time (for example more than half an hour), you will find that next time the person will be reluctant to help you in the future.

When obtaining information from the internet, use a good search engine to focus on what you want. Many people find the GOOGLE search engine useful:



Stop when you have enough information. Easier said than done! Most people fall into one of two traps

Obtaining too little information, usually from a single source (“Hasty Harriet”)

Obtaining too much information and subsequently getting bogged down in a mass of data (“Drowning David” )

You have enough information when you can answer your short sentence, referring to more than one source. Simple as that!


Organise your information carefully. Don’t be afraid to discard what you don’t need. It is unlikely that you will need all the information that you gathered.


Credit your sources. Copying something without referring to the source is called plagiarism (academic cheating!) However if you acknowledge your source then you can copy as much as you like (but remember to put things you copy into “inverted commas” to describe what you are copying) and state who you are quoting. It is good practice to provide the name of the author, the paper/book/source in which you found the information and the year of publishing if available.

INSMAT final materials31/10/03

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