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Teaching Research to Upper-Level Students: Information Literacy

Defining Information Literacy

Information literacy means understanding how information in its many forms is produced and circulated, how to interrogate it critically, and how to enter into conversation with other people's ideas ethically when creating information. 

Our students encounter a vast, diverse and ever-changing information landscape daily. We want students to think critically about this information landscape and consider all the questions that it raises: How is authority generated in various contexts? What does it mean for scholarship to be conversation? Whose voices are oversized, whose are ignored and how do we responsibly respond to those inequities? What are the relationships between information literacy and active participation in democracy?

The Library's understanding of information literacy comes from the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, which outlines six overarching frames:

  • Authority is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

We also recommend taking a look at the research being done by Project Information Literacy, which studies the information behavior of young adults. (Gustavus Professor Emerita Barbara Fister is a member of the PIL team!)

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