Information Processing Skills

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Information Processing Skills



Information gathering is not a problem today, in the IT age. It is in our finger tips. By pressing a button, we can have any information about anything from any part of the world. Twenty years back the research would take 5 to 10 years to reach India from USA. Today, it is available within a few seconds. Researchers were spending hours in analyzing the research data, whereas, now it can be done within a few minutes provided we have the suitable software. What is required today is not the bulk of information but the information processing. We in the pre-university colleges, which is a very crucial stage must develop information processing skills in our students. They have information at the touch of button and hence skills of information processing must be taught to them.

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After going through this unit, you will be able to

  1. Appreciate the need for information processing
  2. List the information processing skills
  3. Enumerate the process skills
  4. Employ an investigatory project and solve the problem

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  1. Information processing skills
  2. Steps of scientific method
  3. Process skills
  4. Investigatory projects in which many process skills are there

Scientific Method

John Dewey was able to identify the steps of reflective thinking. Francis Bacon was the first one to develop steps of scientific method. Now a day even the computers use the same steps of scientific method to solve the problem. These steps are applicable to applied science and problem solving can be done in applied research. Fundamental research in science or Math emetics is still a mystery. It is the creativity of a person, who has ready mind and inspiration at the appropriate time helps him develop altogether a new idea or product.

Steps of scientific method

Any scientific inquiry involves these steps, they are

  1. Raising an inquiry: This is possible when the scientist or science educator identifies the problem. The problem can be a suggested one by others or a self initiated problem.
  2. Search for alternatives or hypothesizing: The investigator thinks of all possible ways through which the problem can be solved. The possible ways are the calculated guesses or hunches, which directs the thinking of the investigator. He is instructed to think of as many possible hunches as possible. More the number of hypotheses, the chances of correct answer is more
  3. Collection of data: The researcher has to collect the data of various types. The data can be from the library books, news paper neighbors, community resource persons or the internet.
  4. Acceptance or rejection of hypothesis : Using the data that has been collected each hypothesis must be checked and verified. Depending on the nature of data each hypothesis can be accepted or rejected. All the hypotheses except one has to be rejected. Only one hypothesis will have to be accepted, that implies that it is the answer to the problem.

An Example

An example would be of help here.

a) You come home and switch on the bulb, it does not glow, you try other bulbs, they also do not glow. Hence you decide that current is not there.

b) You start hypothesizing that

1. Current may not be there in other houses also

2. The wire must have cracked.

3. The fuse must have gone

4. The bulb might have been burnt

5. The fuse in the pole might have gone, etc.,

c) You start collecting data, about the availability of electricity from the newspaper, neighbors. When you find that other houses have electricity the first hypothesis is rejected. You call an electrician and ask him to check the cracking of wire. He checks with a tester and other means the second hypothesis is also rejected. When you check the bulbs and find that they are in good condition the fourth hypothesis is also rejected you request the electrician to check the pole fuse and he finds out that it is alright, and hence fifth hypothesis is rejected. Now, we have only one hypothesis this is fuse. You go and check in the meter board and find that the fuse is gone and request the electrician to put the fuse. You have accepted the 3rd hypothesis and that is the answer to our problem.

These four steps are the skills that you should have in solving any problem in life. They are a) Skill in identifying a problem b) Skill in hypothesizing c) Skill in collecting relevant data and d) Skill in accepting or rejecting the hypothesis.

Web Resources

A detailed write=up on scientific method[[1]]

Steps of the Scientific Method[[2]]

Introduction to the Scientific Method[3]

Process Skills

As science is a discipline, process is its characteristic. The skills are

  1. Observation
  2. Classification
  3. Measuring
  4. Using numbers
  5. Interpretation
  6. Finding time space relationship
  7. Formulating hypotheses
  8. Controlling variables
  9. Predicting
  10. Designing experiments
  11. Inferring
  12. Communicating
  13. Defining Operationally
  14. Experimenting

You may also like to visit the following pages

Investigatory Projects

In a IX D class of a girls school, a student raised the question “How do ants sleep.” This was taken up as a project by the researcher. He asked the girls to go to the library and search for the response. They could not find the answer. Then they were asked to go to the neighboring Vijaya College, where they met the Botany and Zoology professors. Even they did not know the answer. In those days internet was not famous and they went to the last stage of doing a project.

The girls were asked to collect ants and bring them in bottles. The next day nine bottles were brought by the girls. They had caught black ants and had put rice, sugar, etc, for them to eat. The corks had small holes for them to respire. These bottles were kept on the window sill and the whole day children were curious and always wanted to know whether the ants slept or not. They did not. In the evening when the researcher went to the class the girls were shouting. The researcher said may be the light has disturbed them & they might not have slept. One girl suggested how about keeping them in darkness, the neighbor hit her on the head and asked, can you see black ants in darkness. The researcher was in a dilemma.

The researcher asked them to find a semi dark place. The girls found a place under the stairs and next day they wee asked to keep the bottles there and observe. Who should go and observe, and when was planned by the monitor. Finally the girls arrived at the answer “The ants take rest on their fours and that is their sleep.” This answer is not there in any text book or any reference book. This has been found out by IX D girls of that school.


The programme inputs of this web based induction programme consists of (1) Primary texts, pdf file attachments and AV clippings developed by the online facilitators, (2) Pages from relevent internet sites under different sections, (3) Video clippings on different topics and for different training objectives, (4) All assignments are also provided under 'Self Check and Evaluation' on the main page, (5) The Book Shelf has a collection of relevent material and also consists of four activities to be accomplished by you during the training, (6) Web Resources provides you with connections to internet sites which could help you as a DIET faculty, (7) You can get to know about the online facilitators and their e-mail ID by opening online facilitators on main page

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Key Activities / Assignments

  1. Students can be asked to work on a computer and find out the steps of problem solving it follows.
  2. Like process skills in science, list the important skills in Mathematics, Languages or Social Sciences
  3. Work out an investigatory project, listing the steps you would follow.

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Following videos may help you in better understanding about curriculum

[The Scientific Method Made Easy]

[The Scientific Method]

You may like to read this article Science Students in Scientists ShoesPDF down.png

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  1. List the steps of scientific method and explain which one is more important and why?
  2. Enumerate the process skills and explain their importance in teaching/learning science
  3. List the steps of information processing and explain them with an example from the area of your specialization
  4. Explain the importance of internet and mention how it is useful in collecting information.