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Information Literacy for Your Students

Do You Assign Research Projects?

If you assign any kind of research activity to your students, you have likely been frustrated by one or more of the following:

  • Use of sources taken from general websites instead of scholarly publishers
  • Poor integration of source material into the new presentation
  • Uncritical use of sources
  • Plagiarism

These are all signs of students struggling with what we call Information Literacy.

Collaboration with a Librarian in developing your assignments, courses or programs can help you and your students succeed in that struggle. And help your students succeed in your research assignments.

What can Librarians do?

The Library Faculty stand ready to teach, prepare instructional materials and activities, and interact with your students in a number of ways--all in collaboration with you. We can work online or face-to-face or in any hybrid that works for your class. Working with you, we can help develop and improve assignments; help bolster your own instruction on research practices; and help organize where and how Information Literacy instruction can be done in a major program.

As for the "what" that we teach, library instruction will include finding sources of various kinds, and citation practices, and extend into other aspects of Information Literacy. Our domain includes scholarly communication and the research process, giving particular attention to developing a research question, evaluating information and sources, and intellectual integrity. See "What is Information Literacy?," and "How can my students learn Information Literacy?" for more information.

What is Information Literacy?

Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.

ACRL. “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education,” 2015. http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework.

The Association for College and Research Libraries developed the above definition in pursuit of a set of framing concepts to guide the learning and teaching of Information Literacy in higher education. In line with the ACRL Framework, we have established four broad categories for the practices and abilities that comprise Information Literacy:

See Information Literacy Concepts for more information.

How can my students learn Information Literacy?

Take a few minutes to remember how you learned to do library research and the research projects that were assigned to you. Most likely, you picked it up through some combination of:

  • Repeated practice
  • Direct instruction in key concepts or some of the basic practices or abilities
  • Collecting tips and tricks-of-the-trade from professors, librarians and colleagues
  • Asking for help when you got stuck
  • Listening to others' stories about their research projects

And by the time you received your graduate degree, you were participating in research and scholarship in your field. You learned information research through a kind of apprenticeship, and that's how your students will best learn it.

To help provide an information literacy apprenticeship for our students, the librarians have developed statements of Information Literacy Learning Goals at Basic and Advanced Levels for our Information Literacy Concepts.

 

 

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