Concepts to Teach

Basic Information Literacy Skills

Smith College students completing a writing intensive class will be able to...
Recognize - define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
Helps Students To Do This Assignment Examples
Find - construct and implement effective search strategies and extract, record, and manage the information and its sources - especially by recording all pertinent citation information for future reference.
Helps Students To Do This Assignment Examples
Evaluate - articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
Helps Students To Do This Assignment Examples
Use - communicate the product or performance effectively to others.
Helps Students To Do This Assignment Examples
Cite - acknowledge the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.
Helps Students To Do This Assignment Examples

Recognize

Define and articulate the need for information and identify a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.

Helps Students To...

  • Define a manageable topic by articulating those that are both too broad and too narrow
  • Determine what kind and how much information is needed
  • Distinguish between general (popular) and scholarly resources
  • Based on the topic, select the most appropriate format for information - print vs. electronic, current vs. older, book vs. article, popular vs. scholarly, primary vs. secondary, etc.

Assignment Examples

Topic Manageability Background on a Topic
Popular vs. Scholarly Articles Value of a Book
Kinds of Resources Primary/Secondary Resources

Find

Construct and implement effective search strategies and extract, record, and manage the information and its sources - especially by recording all pertinent citation information for future reference.

Helps Students To...

  • Describe a general process for searching for needed information
  • Define what different types of information (primary, secondary, background, specific, etc.) will be suitable
  • Compile a list of terms that describe key concepts to be researched
  • Understand the difference between keywords and controlled vocabulary
  • Distinguish between Internet search tools and fee-based databases
  • Select appropriate tools (e.g. databases, online catalog, scholarly web meta-pages) for a topic
  • Identify the kind of resources indexed in a database - books, articles, reviews, documents, dissertations, etc.
  • Determine if the quantity of citations located is appropriate for the research and whether the items found are locally available

Assignment Examples

Background on a Topic Topic Manageability
Kinds of Resources Primary vs. Secondary Resources
Web Site vs. Peer-Reviewed Article Research Log
Expanded Footnotes Create an Anthology

Evaluate

Articulate and apply initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.

Helps Students To...

  • Investigate an author's qualifications and reputation
  • Determine when a source was published and recognize the implications of that date
  • Understand that information in any format reflects an author's, sponsor's, or publisher's point of view
  • Apply evaluative criteria to information and its source
  • Identify bias, one-sidedness, and appeals to emotion rather than reason in resources of all types

Assignment Examples

Expanded Footnotes Annotated Bibliography
Popular vs. Scholarly Articles Web Site vs. Peer-Reviewed Article
Author Credentials Value of a Book
Evaluating a Book Scholarship Changes Over Time
Kinds of Resources Search Engine vs. Scholarly Site
Primary vs. Secondary Resources Following the Trail
Scientific Research in the Press Research Log
Create an Anthology Peer Review

Use

Communicate the product or performance effectively to others.

Helps Students To...

  • Understand the best method for presenting information
  • Use sources and data to support assertions
  • Use appropriate technology to present information to others (with assistance from ITS staff)
  • Organize content in a manner that supports the purposes and format of the assignment - e.g. outline, drafts, annotated bibliography, etc.

Assignment Examples

Expanded Footnote Research Log
Annotated Bibliography Peer Review
Create an Anthology  

Cite

Acknowledge the use of information sources in communicating the product or performance.

Helps Students To...

  • Avoid plagiarism through appropriate citation of sources
  • Select an appropriate documentation style and use
  • Identify citation elements for information sources in different formats (e.g. book, article in print or online, film, photograph, web page, etc.)
  • Locate information on documentation style both online and in more detailed print sources

Assignment Examples

Expanded Footnote Citation of Sources vs. Plagiarism
Research Log Peer Review