I-Search Process: Four Instructional Phases

This diagram identifies the four phases of instruction in an I-Search Unit and shows how they are connected to one another to link process to product. Each phase is labeled within a box and arrows are used to show connections.

Beginning with the box for Phase I, teachers help students to become immersed in the theme of the unit and pose their own I-Search questions. An arrow links Phase I to Phase II. In Phase II, students develop a search plan that describes how they intend to gather information by reading, watching, asking, and doing. An arrow from Phase II leads to Phase III, where students follow and also revise, as needed, their search plans as they gather information. At the same time, they are integrating and synthesizing information. An arrow connects Phase III to Phase IV. In Phase IV, students produce and disseminate reports, projects, and exhibitions.

There are additional arrows above and below the four boxes. Across the top, a line with arrows links Phase I, II, III, and IV. The line is labeled, "ongoing writing." This indicates that in an ongoing way, as students engage in the four phases, they are drafting the sections of their final report or project. There are also backwards arrows going from Phase IV to Phase III, from Phase III to Phase II, and from Phase III to Phase I. These arrows are labeled, "revising, refining, and elaborating." This indicates that the I-Search process is recursive, and that as students are drafting the report, they might need to go back and gather more information. Or that as they are gathering information, they might need to revise their I-Search questions and/or the search plan.