Information Literacy Goals

The collaboration between FYW and the Library is written into the UConn General Education documentation as a key component of Information Literacy. There are many basic InfoLit skills, and our one-semester FYW course serves as a wide-ranging introduction to these skills. Higher-level thinking, more complex tools and databases, creation and sharing of new knowledge, and thinking beyond the page are all involved in InfoLit in a student’s upper-level coursework. Your charge is to get students in your course started on this path.

Information Literacy Goals for FYW Courses

Information literacy skills at their most basic can be broken into several general and overlapping activities: reflecting, inquiring, finding, interpreting, evaluating, and managing (not always in that order). These apply to required readings as well as to outside research, and these processes encourage higher-order thinking. More specifically, Information Literacy asks us to:

  • Evaluate and Reflect
    • Determine purpose of item: inform, sell, persuade, etc.
    • Locate author credentials, expertise, authority
    • Learn to skim strategically for relevance and topic
    • Examine sources for generalizations, misrepresentations, and/or bias
    • Learn about publication processes: peer-reviewed, edited, self-published
    • Verify information using multiple or respected sources
    • Take into account the publication date and currency, if appropriate
    • Assess the quality of the references cited
    • Determine what kinds of sources will be useful in the context of the assignment
  • Interpret
    • Place ideas within the discourse of other texts; find and join a critical conversation
    • Choose a lens or perspective as a starting point or focus
    • Forward or challenge ideas and texts
    • Learn to skim strategically for relevance and topic
    • Synthesize concepts from research into a cohesive individual project
  • Seek, Inquire, Find
    • Learn to search strategically
    • Make effective use of the library search at http://lib.uconn.edu
    • Decide among subject-specific databases
    • Understand call numbers and the layout of the Library
  • Manage
    • Integrate a range of voices/texts into a cohesive project
    • Learn to paraphrase, quote, and cite appropriately and effectively
    • Keep track of materials, documents, and citations

 

Relevant InfoLit Basic Experiences

  1. Students will be able to develop several possible projects or specific topics from course readings about which they can then build a greater base of knowledge through research.

InfoLit Threshold Concepts at work here: Scholarship as a Conversation, Research as Exploration, Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Asks students to

  • Apply their initial knowledge and understanding of a topic
  • Think about the complexities of an issue (as opposed to “Do a paper on nursery rhymes”)
  • See the wider variety of possibilities for investigation within a reading/film/etc.

Students will be able to

  • Identify and articulate a suitable topic or argument for their assignment
  • Collaborate with the instructor and peers through revision
  • Reflect on their choices as readers and writers
  • Engage with and respond to a variety of critical perspectives

End goals for student learning

  • Incorporation of a dimension of personal interest—that is, what stays with students from this reading or viewing that increases engagement and enjoyment
  • Awareness of the distinctions between student voice, ideas, and thoughts and texts and outside voices, and ability to integrate them into a cohesive project
  • Understanding of which topics are researchable and of the process of building a project
  • Ability to adapt topics as they progress through research and writing

Tips for students

  • Develop and articulate individual writer’s voice, understanding, and initial ideas before researching
  • Keep a research log to show the process, from starting point, including initial keywords, showing shifting of focus of topic if necessary, encouraging metacognitive activity
  • Create mind maps or other visual representations of what is known, what is not known, what could be known, etc., to help to frame the research process
  1. Students will develop awareness of disciplinary (subject) thinking to select appropriate database(s) for researching in their disciplines.

InfoLit Threshold Concept at work here: Searching is Strategic

Students will be able to

  • Determine what disciplines or subjects might hold information best for their project
    • Example: What would they find in Sociology, Political Science, Women’s Studies?
  • Discern which databases are most useful for particular work
    • Example: What would they find or not find in JSTOR, MLA International Bibliography, CQ Researcher? (others as appropriate)
  • Navigate a variety of academic databases and make use of library and online research tools (see database guide on page 178)
  • Students will build competence in basic information searching and retrieval in academic research tools.

InfoLit Threshold Concepts at work here: Information Creation as Process, Scholarship as a Conversation, Authority is Constructed and Contextual

End goals for student learning

  • Understanding of methods of searching: keywords, subject headings, related article links, works cited entries (in older works), “cited by” info
  • Ability to differentiate between types of publication (newspaper, magazine, blog post, website, research article) and the kind of information available in each; understanding of the difference between popular or scholarly and peer-reviewed materials and an ability to reflect on the reason for choosing a particular source
  • Awareness of menu tools usually on left or right margins (providing powerful features) available in research databases, which make searches more productive and specific (date range, subject); ability to understand and make use of infographics and data (how many articles on this topic from various decades or years, when did this topic begin appearing, etc.)
  • Understanding of the anatomy of a scholarly article (or other types as applicable), including the abstract and other elements such as introduction, thesis or research question, lit review, discussion, conclusions, further research needed, etc.