Embedding the New Information Literacy Framework in Undergraduate Political Science Courses

Embedding the New Information Literacy Framework in Undergraduate Political Science Courses

By Melissa HardenUniversity of Notre Dame and Jeffrey J. Harden, University of Notre Dame

What information can I trust? What sources should I include in my paper? Where can I find a quote that fits my argument? Undergraduates ask instructors, classmates, and/or librarians these questions. Meanwhile, instructors bemoan the gap between their expectations for student writing and the finished products. Navigating a large volume of scholarship and critically evaluating potential sources is straightforward for faculty who have long passed key information literacy (IL) thresholds. However, students usually have not reached these thresholds themselves. We offer practical tools—grounded in a new framework for teaching IL—to address these challenges. We demonstrate how instructors can (and should) teach IL skills, with or without direct assistance from librarians. We recommend encouraging students to build context around information sources and slow down as they search. Implementing these tools moves students from passively synthesizing a limited set of (possibly biased) materials to engaging in genuine scholarly inquiry.

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