INFORMATION LITERACY is the ability to find, evaluate, and effectively use information when you need it. This is an important set of skills for life, both during and after college.
Identify the best sources of information for your course or program (e.g., a specific database or journal).
Remain open to new approaches in research: finding information is not a single straight path.
Remember that information has value for education, influence, and as a commodity.
Read sources critically. Information resources reflect their creators' expertise and credibility.
Think about scholarship as a conversation in which ideas are formulated, debated, and reinterpreted over time.
When you need to find information and can't find good sources via Google, where do you look?
How do you assess the trustworthiness of online sources?
How do you choose between credible sources?
How do you avoid plagiarism when you use others' work?
When making major life decisions, how much research do you do?
Determine the extent of information needed.
Try to match your information need with appropriate sources:
Remember: ”Common sense” sometimes includes ideas or myths that are widely accepted as true but have never been tested or verified!
(If you doubt the credibility of a claim or story, check out Snopes.com)
Note: Your own unconscious bias might trick you into choosing inappropriate sources!
Access the information you need effectively and efficiently.
Example: An essay on psychology and therapeutic counseling should focus on medical, health and human services, and nursing databases.
Critically evaluate information and its sources.
Incorporate selected information into your knowledge base.
As your research progresses and you learn more, your research questions will become more complex or focused.
After you have solid background knowledge, you might focus on new or controversial theories and ideas.
You join the scholarly conversation about a subject or discipline by choosing sources, using them in your writing, and citing them.
Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
Information is created in many ways to serve numerous diverse functions.
The purpose of an information item impacts how it is created and how much value it holds for different groups.
Most creative endeavours follow this sequence:
Most new students focus all their energy on the creation phase. Don’t neglect the planning and editing phases! Change this habit, and your results will likely improve.
Understand the value of information; access and use information ethically and legally.
For example, marketing firms pay to access your internet browsing habits.
This is why we pay fees to access scholarly databases and why some people advocate for “open access” to scholarly information.
This is also why you must use information ethically by citing your research sources.
TOOLS & RESOURCES
ACRL Definition: 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.
This video was created by Eastern Gateway Community College.