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ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

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.

In 2016, the Association of College and Research Libraries established six frameworks for information literacy. These frameworks are listed as headings below.

The frameworks or threshold concepts of information literacy provide the backbone to general education outcomes and subject mastery. By mastering a threshold concept students gain a valuable competency and transferrable skills, which will help them both in and out of the classroom.

The following assignments ideas could be selected based on the learning objectives for your course. Let us know if you would like to work with a librarian to flesh out an assignment idea.

Assignments designed Around the Framework for Information Literacy

Assignment Ideas

Authority is Constructed and Contextual

  • Students are presented with a source (e.g. an article, blog post, ad, etc.) and brainstorm ways the source might be used for school, for work and personally.
  • Have students compare the treatment of a particular topic in different types of sources (news media and scholarly discussion) 
  • Have students evaluate the credibility and authority of the course textbook.

Information Creation as a Process

  • Students are presented with a source (Newspaper, academic article, book, magazine article, webpage or blog). They will try to understand the “role” of each in the research process.
  • Ask students to transform the information they have created in one format to another format, and to write a reflection on what they needed to consider as they went through the process.
  • Assign students to identify several different applicable information sources that arise from different creation processes, and to communicate the unique values of each.

Information has Value

  • Group discussion: Why do library databases exist?
  • Ask students to find several images that would enhance the project or paper on which they are working. Then ask them to determine which can be used without asking permission. What would they need to do to use this material?
  • Ask students to determine what information they can find about themselves or a relative online, and to assess whether steps should be taken to control this personal information.

Research as Inquiry

  • Students in a first-year course reflect upon the steps they went through when researching a major purchase or event in their lives (buying a car, selecting a college, etc.). They identify the steps involved in the research behind such a decision and confront the importance of employing a similar strategy in the academic setting.
  • Present students with a paper topic. Have them brainstorm keywords and questions they would want answered in a presentation and comment on each others’ suggestions.
  • Assign students to keep research logs in which they note changes in particular research directions as they identify resources, read, and incorporate new learning. 

Scholarship as Conversation

  • Give students in professional or career-focused program assignments that examine how practice and/or procedures evolve over time. Ask them to consider how the profession shares information.
  • Students as Contributors: Ask students to describe a time they commented in some way about a popular film or television show. Have they made a Facebook post or a tweet or commented on a news article or fan forum? Were they responding to someone when they made their comment? Did anyone respond to their comment? Use this as a foundation for discussing how they are contributing to the conversation about that film. Compare with conversations around scholarly sources-those that write reviews or responses or cite a source are contributing their own voice to the conversation about that source. 
  • Select a topic on which students have some knowledge or experience. Identify a venue (blog, discussion forum, other social media site) in which a scholarly conversation is taking place. Ask students to:
  • ‚ÄčIdentify key players and their perspectives.
  • Compare a related scholarly article by one of the players to the online conversation.
  • Consider how to involve themselves in the conversation.

Search as Strategic Exploration

  • Ask students to brainstorm possible sources that might have relevant information. What tools will they need to locate those resources?
  • Students must identify one or two important databases for the project they are working on and analyze why they consider them to be an effective resource for their research.
  • Ask students to choose a topic, develop key search terms, and use two different search engines to locate information on their topic. Have them compare the results in terms of quantity, types of sources (e.g., government, educational, scholarly, and commercial), order/sequence of results, and relevance. Pair students who used the same search engine with different topics to compare results.