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Information Literacy Instruction

Major Stakeholders and Competency Providers

Students | * Classroom Instructors * | Librarians | Technology Staff

Classroom Instructor as Information Literacy Competency Provider

Information Literacy (IL) skills help students to produce better work. The concepts of critical thinking, evaluation, properly citing sources are not tied to any one subject but enhance the intellectual power of those who learn the skills. Classroom Instructors who are able to integrate IL competencies into their curriculums will see the results in the quality of their students' finished products and thinking abilities.

Below is an list of ACRL IL objectives which faculty may find useful in assisting all undergraduates to master Information Literacy skills through assignments, classwork, and lectures. These skills are most effectively developed in the classroom where they can be integrated into the curriculum and taught in context. It is hoped that faculty will find these useful and apply them whenever possible to their courses and assignments.

Information Literacy Objectives for Undergraduates

  1. Defining Information Needs
    • Develops a thesis statement and formulates questions based on the information need
    • Defines or modifies the information need to achieve a manageable focus
    • Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need
    • Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and/or analysis to produce new information
    • Knows how information is formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated
    • Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines that influence the way information is accessed
    • Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g.,multimedia, database, website, data set, audio/visual, book)
    • Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)
    • Differentiates between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline
    • Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources
    • Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process beyond local resources (e.g., interlibrary loan; using resources at other locations; obtaining images, videos, text, or sound)
    • Considers the feasibility of acquiring a new language or skill (e.g., foreign or discipline-based) in order to gather needed information and to understand its context
    • Defines a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information
    • Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the question
    • Describes criteria used to make information decisions and choices
  2. Accessing Information Effectively and Efficiently
    • Identifies appropriate investigative methods (e.g., laboratory experiment, simulation, fieldwork)
    • Investigates benefits and applicability of various investigative methods
    • Investigates the scope, content, and organization of information retrieval systems
    • Develops a research plan appropriate to the investigative method
    • Uses surveys, letters, interviews, and other forms of inquiry to retrieve primary information
    • Assesses the quantity, quality, and relevance of the search results to determine whether alternative information retrieval systems or investigative methods should be utilized
    • Identifies gaps in the information retrieved and determines if the search strategy should be revised
    • Differentiates between the types of sources cited and understands the elements and correct syntax of a citation for a wide range of resources
  3. Evaluation and Critically Thinking about Information Sources
    • Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias
    • Analyzes the structure and logic of supporting arguments or methods
    • Recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation
    • Recognizes the cultural, physical, or other context within which the information was created and understands the impact of context on interpreting the information
    • Recognizes interrelationships among concepts and combines them into potentially useful primary statements with supporting evidence
    • Extends initial synthesis, when possible, at a higher level of abstraction to construct new hypotheses that may require additional information
    • Utilizes computer and other technologies (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, multimedia, and audio or visual equipment) for studying the interaction of ideas and other phenomena
    • Tests theories with discipline-appropriate techniques (e.g., simulators, experiments)
    • Determines probable accuracy by questioning the source of the data, the limitations of the information gathering tools or strategies, and the reasonableness of the conclusions
    • Selects information that provides evidence for the topic
  4. Presenting Results
    • Organizes the content in a manner that supports the purposes and format of the product or performance (e.g. outlines, drafts, storyboards)
    • Articulates knowledge and skills transferred from prior experiences to planning and creating the product or performance
    • Integrates the new and prior information, including quotations and paraphrasings, in a manner that supports the purposes of the product or performance
    • Manipulates digital text, images, and data, as needed, transferring them from their original locations and formats to a new context
    • Maintains a journal or log of activities related to the information seeking, evaluating, and communicating process
    • Chooses a communication medium and format that best supports the purposes of the product or performance and the intended audience
    • Uses a range of information technology applications in creating the product or performance
    • Incorporates principles of design and communication
    • Communicates clearly and with a style that supports the purposes of the intended audience
  5. Understanding Information Issues
    • Identifies and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information
    • Identifies and discusses issues related to censorship and freedom of speech
    • Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material
    • Demonstrates an understanding of what constitutes plagiarism and does not represent work attributable to others as his/her own
    • Demonstrates an understanding of institutional policies related to human subjects research
    • Selects an appropriate documentation style and uses it consistently to cite sources