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The Information Search Process (ISP) is a six-stage process that information seekers go through when seeking information. ISP was first suggested by Carol C. Kuhlthau in 1991. The six stages of ISP are as follows: Stage 1: Initiation, Stage 2: Selection, Stage 3: Exploration, Stage 4: Formulation, Stage 5: Collection, Stage 6: Presentation.
During the first stage, initiation, the information seeker has a topic for which they need information. As they think more about the topic, they may discuss the topic with others and brainstorm the topic further. 
In the second stage, selection, the individual begins to decide where to get the information needed. Some information retrieval may occur at this point.
In the third stage, exploration, information on the topic is gathered. During this stage, new personal knowledge is created. 
During the fourth stage, formulation, the information seeker starts to evaluate the information that has been gathered. At this point, a focus begins to form and there is not as much confusion and uncertainty as in earlier stages.  Formulation is considered to be the most important stage of the process. 
During the fifth stage, collection, the information seeker knows what is needed to support the focus. At this point, the search is more effective because the focus is clear. 
In the sixth and final stage, presentation, the individual has completed the information search. Now the information seeker will summarize and report on the information that was found through the process.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Shannon, Donna. “Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process.” School Library Media Activities Monthly, Vol. 19, no. 2, October 2002: p. 19-23.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Isbell, Dennis and Lisa Kammerlocher. “Implementing Kuhlthau: A New Model for Library and Reference Instruction.” Reference Services Review, Fall/Winter 1998: p. 33-44.
- ↑ Rubin, Richard E. Foundations of Library and Information Science. New York: Neal Schuman Publishers.
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