9 The Seven Pillars

It is unlikely that you know everything you need to know about your wicked problem. To fill in the gaps in your knowledge, you should do some investigation using a variety of tools. The Seven Pillars Model of Information Literacy provides a good framework for how to fill in the gaps in your knowledge about your wicked problem. The Seven Pillars are:

  1. Identify: Understanding your information need.
  2. Scope: Knowing what is available.
  3. Plan: Developing research strategies.
  4. Gather: Finding what you need.
  5. Evaluate: Assessing your research process and findings.
  6. Manage: Organizing information effectively and ethically.
  7. Present: Sharing what you have learned.

The following chapters about each of these pillars of information literacy are adapted from The Information Literacy User’s Guide. While the pillars are normally presented in a certain order, it is important to remember that they are not intended to be a step-by-step guide to be followed in a strict order. In most projects, you will find that you move back and forth between the different pillars as you discover more information and come up with more questions about your wicked problem.


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Tackling Wicked Problems by Members of the TWP Community is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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