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Faculty Toolkit for Teaching Information Literacy: 1. Information need

Information need

Standard one:

The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.

  • understands the research assignment and is able to communicate it to others
  • formulates a thesis statement or research question that fits into the parameters of the research assignment
  • explores and refines a topic using appropriate library and Internet sources
  • explores general information sources (e.g., encyclopedias) to increase familiarity with the topic
  • recognizes various types and formats of information and understands their value and differences

Choosing and refining a topic

Activity with assessment

Types of Information Resources


Students need to be able to (outcomes)

  • recognize various types of information resources and understand their value and differences

Students need to know (curriculum)

  • advantages of using a variety of sources
  • what the different information types are (Web/search engines, library databases, reference books, popular magazines, scholarly journals)
  • where to find each type of information
  • how to use criteria for comparison (appropriateness, authority, currency, bias)

Learning activities (pedagogy)

  • lecture about different types of information and why it's important to have a variety of tools available (each tool is appropriate for a particular job)
  • in-class exercise:
    • students, working in groups, are given a research topic
    • students compare and contrast two different types of information resource (subject encyclopedia vs. Web, ProQuest vs. Google, Opposing Viewpoints database vs. Web, journal vs. magazine, two different databases)
    • each group must indicate strengths and weaknesses for each source
    • each group reports their findings to the larger class

Assignment (assessment)

  • students research a topic and are required to use at least five sources
  • students create an annotated bibliography
  • in the annotations, students reflect on these evaluation questions:
    • who created the information?
    • when was the information created?
    • is the information biased?
    • how did this source add to your knowledge of the topic?

Grading/Scoring (criteria)

  • Annotated bibliography rubric (points assigned as appropriate):
    • variety / appropriateness
      • unacceptable - uses one type of information
      • developing - uses a few types of information
      • acceptable - uses many types of information that are somewhat appropriate to the topic
      • proficient - uses many types of information that are all appropriate to the topic
    • evaluation
      • unacceptable - annotations do not discuss any of the evaluation questions
      • developing - annotations discuss one or two of the evaluation questions
      • acceptable - annotations discuss all four of the evaluation questions
      • proficient - annotations discuss all four of the evaluation questions and demonstrate an understanding of the value of each source