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Teaching & Learning: Information Literacy

Information Literacy Research

A  University of Washington study found that first-year students apply
  • the strategies learned in high school
  • focus on the length of the paper rather than its contect,
  • 84%of students have difficulty starting assignments
  • 66% have difficulty defining a topic

But,  students receiving Information Literacy Instruction had a higher average GPA than those without : a study at Middle Tennessee State University

And,  students using the library during their first year have a higher GPA and higher student retention : a study from University of Minnesota

Guidelines for Effective Library Assignments

Consult with a Reference Librarian before the assignment
  • Sending a copy of your assignment to the reference librarian will ensure that the staff is prepared to help your students when needed
  • The reference librarian can help you ensure that the library has the needed resources to complete the assignment
  • Schedule a library research instruction session in class time.  Your involvement supports student learning
  • Consider online librarian support through online course chat and use of research guides
Assume minimal library knowledge.  All students need an introduction to research skills
  • Types of resources appropriate for the task:  books (catalog), articles (databases), primary sources, statistics...
  • Terminology in the library and in the discipline
  • Library tools specific to the discipline
  • Research journals v popular magazines v trade periodicals
  • Primary & secondary sources
  • Developing a research strategy
  • Web evaluation
  • Citation management
  • Plagiarism
Design assignments that reinforce research skills
  • Articulate your specific learning outcomes
  • Describe the research steps the student would expect to follow
  • Offer advice on creating research questions, selecting information sources, assessing sources, or the structure of the paper
  • Describe what the finished product should look like
  • Describe how the research process will be assessed
  • Split research assignments into a variety of tasks throughout the quarter to gradually build research skills by giving feedback at each stage
  • Discuss time management
  • Encourage students to use various production techniques (papers, paosters, presentations, webpages, video, etc.) to present the results of their research
Avoid the following types of assignments
  • Large classes working from a limited selection of topics
  • Scavenger hunts. These do not teach students how to use the library effectvely
  • Search for obscure facts or topics.  Avoid student and staff frustration

Use library RESERVES to give access to limited sources

Information Literacy SVC

Definition: Recognizing when information is needed and having the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.

Outcomes:  Students will be able to  . . .

1.1    Determine the extent of information needed.

1.2    Access the needed information effectively, efficiently, ethically, and legally.

1.3    Evaluate information and its sources critically.

1.4    Evaluate issues (for example economic, legal, historic, social) surrounding the use of information.

1.5    Effectively integrate and use information ethically and legally to accomplish a specific purpose.


Information Literacy in the Disciplines

Information Literacy in the Disciplines   These standards and guidelines for specific disciplines have been compiled by the Association of College and Research Libraries.  Includes articles, curricula, and presentations.