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Research Skills Instruction

Opportunities for adding information literacy concepts and activities into your course or assignment.

Definition

Information Literacy is a range of critical thinking skills, including

1) the discovery and evaluation of information,

2) understanding how information is produced and valued, and

3) the ethical use of information in creating new knowledge.

Infographic of ACRL Framework for Info Literacy

Info Literacy Frames (or Pillar Concepts) You Could Teach!

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.

 

Knowledge Practices of Developing Learners:

  • define different types of authority, such as subject expertise (e.g., scholarship), societal position (e.g., public office or title), or special experience (e.g., participating in a historic event);
  • use research tools and indicators of authority to determine the credibility of sources, understanding the elements that might temper this credibility;
  • understand that many disciplines have acknowledged authorities in the sense of well-known scholars and publications that are widely considered “standard,” and yet, even in those situations, some scholars would challenge the authority of those sources;
  • recognize that authoritative content may be packaged formally or informally and may include sources of all media types;
  • acknowledge they are developing their own authoritative voices in a particular area and recognize the responsibilities this entails, including seeking accuracy and reliability, respecting intellectual property, and participating in communities of practice;
  • understand the increasingly social nature of the information ecosystem where authorities actively connect with one another and sources develop over time.

 

Dispositions of Developing Learners:

  • develop and maintain an open mind when encountering varied and sometimes conflicting perspectives;
  • motivate themselves to find authoritative sources, recognizing that authority may be conferred or manifested in unexpected ways;
  • develop awareness of the importance of assessing content with a skeptical stance and with a self-awareness of their own biases and worldview;
  • question traditional notions of granting authority and recognize the value of diverse ideas and worldviews;
  • are conscious that maintaining these attitudes and actions requires frequent self-evaluation.

 


Example DLO on Periodical Types from Teaching Materials Cache

Scholarly Journals, popular magazines and news, and trade journals are different publication types with different audiences.

Research as Inquiry

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

 

Knowledge Practices (Behaviors?) of Developing Learners

  • formulate questions for research based on information gaps or on reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting, information;
  • determine an appropriate scope of investigation;
  • deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones, limiting the scope of investigations;
  • use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry;
  • monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses;
  • organize information in meaningful ways;
  • synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources;
  • draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information.

 

Dispositions (Mindsets?) of Developing Learners

  • consider research as open-ended exploration and engagement with information;
  • appreciate that a question may appear to be simple but still disruptive and important to research;
  • value intellectual curiosity in developing questions and learning new investigative methods;
  • maintain an open mind and a critical stance;
  • value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility and recognize that ambiguity can benefit the research process;
  • seek multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment;
  • seek appropriate help when needed;
  • follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information;
  • demonstrate intellectual humility (i.e., recognize their own intellectual or experiential limitations).

Example embedded short video from Teaching Materials Cache

Picking a Topic IS Research

Scholarship as Conversation

Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations.

 

Knowledge Practices of Developing Learners

  • cite the contributing work of others in their own information production;
  • contribute to scholarly conversation at an appropriate level, such as local online community, guided discussion, undergraduate research journal, conference presentation/poster session;
  • identify barriers to entering scholarly conversation via various venues;
  • critically evaluate contributions made by others in participatory information environments;
  • identify the contribution that particular articles, books, and other scholarly pieces make to disciplinary knowledge;
  • summarize the changes in scholarly perspective over time on a particular topic within a specific discipline;
  • recognize that a given scholarly work may not represent the only or even the majority perspective on the issue.

 

Dispositions of Developing Learners

  • recognize they are often entering into an ongoing scholarly conversation and not a finished conversation;
  • seek out conversations taking place in their research area;
  • see themselves as contributors to scholarship rather than only consumers of it;
  • recognize that scholarly conversations take place in various venues;
  • suspend judgment on the value of a particular piece of scholarship until the larger context for the scholarly conversation is better understood;
  • understand the responsibility that comes with entering the conversation through participatory channels;
  • value user-generated content and evaluate contributions made by others;
  • recognize that systems privilege authorities and that not having a fluency in the language and process of a discipline disempowers their ability to participate and engage.

Example from Teaching Materials Cache

Searching as Strategic Exploration

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

 

Knowledge Practices of Developing Learners

  • determine the initial scope of the task required to meet their information needs;
  • identify interested parties, such as scholars, organizations, governments, and industries, who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information;
  • utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching;
  • match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools;
  • design and refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on search results;
  • understand how information systems (i.e., collections of recorded information) are organized in order to access relevant information;
  • use different types of searching language (e.g., controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language) appropriately;
  • manage searching processes and results effectively.

 

Dispositions of Developing Learners

  • exhibit mental flexibility and creativity
  • understand that first attempts at searching do not always produce adequate results
  • realize that information sources vary greatly in content and format and have varying relevance and value, depending on the needs and nature of the search
  • seek guidance from experts, such as librarians, researchers, and professionals
  • recognize the value of browsing and other serendipitous methods of information gathering
  • persist in the face of search challenges, and know when they have enough information to complete the information task

Information Creation as a Process

Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.

 

Knowledge Practices of Developing Learners

  • articulate the capabilities and constraints of information developed through various creation processes;
  • assess the fit between an information product’s creation process and a particular information need;
  • articulate the traditional and emerging processes of information creation and dissemination in a particular discipline;
  • recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is packaged;
  • recognize the implications of information formats that contain static or dynamic information;
  • monitor the value that is placed upon different types of information products in varying contexts;
  • transfer knowledge of capabilities and constraints to new types of information products;
  • develop, in their own creation processes, an understanding that their choices impact the purposes for which the information product will be used and the message it conveys.

 

Dispositions of Developing Learners

  • are inclined to seek out characteristics of information products that indicate the underlying creation process;
  • value the process of matching an information need with an appropriate product;
  • accept that the creation of information may begin initially through communicating in a range of formats or modes;
  • accept the ambiguity surrounding the potential value of information creation expressed in emerging formats or modes;
  • resist the tendency to equate format with the underlying creation process;
  • understand that different methods of information dissemination with different purposes are available for their use.

Example of DLO or Activity from Teaching Materials Cache (anyone have ideas for this one?) Something about Black Lives Matter content on Twitter?

Information Has Value

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.

 

Knowledge Practices of Developing Learners

  • give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation;
  • understand that intellectual property is a legal and social construct that varies by culture;
  • articulate the purpose and distinguishing characteristics of copyright, fair use, open access, and the public domain;
  • understand how and why some individuals or groups of individuals may be underrepresented or systematically marginalized within the systems that produce and disseminate information;
  • recognize issues of access or lack of access to information sources;
  • decide where and how their information is published;
  • understand how the commodification of their personal information and online interactions affects the information they receive and the information they produce or disseminate online;
  • make informed choices regarding their online actions in full awareness of issues related to privacy and the commodification of personal information.

 

Dispositions of Developing Learners

  • respect the original ideas of others;
  • value the skills, time, and effort needed to produce knowledge;
  • see themselves as contributors to the information marketplace rather than only consumers of it;
  • are inclined to examine their own information privilege.

Example DLO or activity from Teaching Materials Cache? Activity where students first Google for lit crit on an author, discuss qiuality of their results. Then try the same search in Artemis or other Lit Crit database. Discuss results. Compare and contrast?

Resources