Stripling and Pitts Research Process Model

The late 1980s was a time when many librarians and educators were discussing the importance of information skills. Barbara Stripling and Judy Pitts focused their attention on the need for high level thinking in the research process.


The REACTS Taxonomy developed by Barbara Stripling and Judy Pitts focuses on critical thinking in the research process. This model focuses on strategies for ensuring high level thinking and resulting quality products. If students research at a low level, they're likely to react at a low level. In other words, if students spend their time collecting facts, they'll probably create a low-level recall-type report. However if they spend their time in the research process integrating, concluding, and conceptualizing, then their final product will be reflect transformation and synthesis of information.

The REACTS Taxonomy includes the following elements:

  • Recalling
  • Explaining
  • Analyzing
  • Challenging
  • Transforming
  • Synthesizing

Ten Step Research Process

Along with the the teaching strategies associated with the REACTS Taxonomy, Stripling and Pitts designed a 10-step process to help students develop their term paper from topic selection to final product. Each step includes reflective questions to help the student focus their activities.

  1. Choose a broad topic
  2. Get an overview
  3. Narrow the topic
  4. Develop thesis statement
  5. Formulate questions
  6. Plan for research
  7. Find, analyze, evaluate
  8. Evaluate evidence
  9. Establish conclusions
  10. Create and present final product

Online Resources

Stripling and Pitts Research Process Model
This was one of the earlier models developed.

Print Resources

Stripling, Barbara & Pitts, Judy (1988). Brainstorms and Blueprints: Teaching Research as a Thinking Process. Engelwood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.

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Created by Annette Lamb, 8/03. Updated 1/05.