Thursday, August 12, 2010

Information Literacy Outcomes

It seems like the following might be appropriate outcomes of for a course intending to teach students how to become information literate. I tried to incorporate Bloom's Taxonomy, so you ought to be able to insert "I" or "I can" before each of the bullets below. The link to Bloom's Taxonomy takes you to a website with the taxonomy, including verbs that you can insert into questions to focus students on develop that level of thinking.

* understand the differences between scholarly and popular sources.
* know how to access scholarly sources.
* describe ways to narrow down a topic in order to write a manageable paper.
* create an annotated bibliography.
* evaluate sources and explain why they are or are not useful for a given purpose, such as arguing a point/thesis in a paper.
* apply criteria for evaluating information sources.
* understand why information needs to be cited.
* explain why some information costs money to access and other information does not. ~ Explain why information is not equal in its quality or demand.
* show how to mold a topic into a research question.
* understand when it may be necessary to seek help from a librarian/information professional.
* identify the differences between a catalog and an index.

What other outcomes would you expect to come out of a semester-long course that incorporated information literacy?


Dana said...

These are great - succinct - thanks for sharing! My only 2 tiny quibbles:
1. The last one seems librarian-centered rather than student- or goal-oriented. Is it necessary?

2. What about the ability to craft possible search strategies from a topic or thesis? I.e., research list of possible keywords and connect those keywords in a way databases can understand what you want (the dreaded Boolean stuff!)

Spencer said...


These are good questions. You're right, the last one is more librarian-centered, but it seems useful for students to know what they will find in the library catalog versus an index. The catalog lists what can be found within the library building, though many library catalogs do provide access to online government documents and ebooks. It still seems useful for students to know that the catalog helps them find the actual item.

An index will point to other resources, including the parts of the whole. Many databases index the journals, so the articles are parts of the journals. The indexes will often point researchers to items not located within the Library, i.e. the article databases housed in the vendors' servers. Indexes can guide individuals to find poems, articles, topics, etc. within books.

Again, understanding this can help students realize why the article database may not provide the full text--it's just pointing them to the source, so they can take the necessary actions to really find it.

Your second question really ought to be an information-literacy outcome. Students should know how to construct a search statement and use Boolean operators.