Researching information literacy: theory and practice Dr Jane Secker LSE Centre for Learning Technology Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield: 19th May 2011
Introduction and my background
Definitions of information and digital literacy and useful models
Discussion in pairs
Information & digital literacy in practice at LSE
Researching information literacy: the DELILA project
Researching information literacy: Arcadia Fellowship May - July 2011
Introduction to me
My background: librarian and e-learning specialist, PhD in information science
Publications and significant web presence …. but what did you find?
The practitioners perspective
Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor at LSE
Primarily supporting staff in their use of technologies for teaching
How can librarians and other academic support staff best help students, research students, academic staff and other staff in higher education?
Why research in information literacy is important?
Definition of information literacy
Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. It is a basic human right in a digital world and promotes social inclusion in all nations.
UNESCO (2005) Alexandria Proclamation
“… Information literacy is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.
CILIP (2004) Information literacy definition
Definition of digital literacy
“… the skills, knowledge and understanding that enables critical, creative, discerning and safe practices when engaging with digital technologies in all areas of life”
New SCONUL model
FutureLab (2010) model of digital literacy
What are the issues?
Jones et al (2010) highlights the generational debate.
If you were born after 1982 = Generation Y
In pairs - reflect on:
What did you think of the article?
How did you become information literate?
Do you think there are any gaps / areas you need more help?
What training / skills should those in higher education be focusing on to support learning?
IL in practice at LSE
Information skills classes run by Library
Open to all students – focus on PGTs and UGs
Optional – run each term
Covers using library resources, literature searching, internet searching, citing and referencing, Endnote, keeping up to date
Taught by Library staff
Full programme listed on LSE Library website
Embedding IL in undergraduate study
LSE100 is a core course for all undergraduate students (pilot in 2009/10 now compulsory)
Understanding the cause of things: thinking like a social scientist
Tackles the big questions in the social sciences and taught by leading academics
Has information, methodological and communication skills embedded
An online tutorial is available to students in Moodle to support the essay writing process
Evidence suggests students who use the tutorial perform better in final exam - need further research
DL in practice at LSE
Digital literacy classes run by CLT and Library
Open to all staff and PhD students
Optional – run each term
Cover using web 2.0 tools (social networking, social bookmarking, Twitter, blogging), internet searching, keeping up to date, managing your web presence
Taught by CLT and Library staff
Further information on CLT website
The MI512 programme
Information and digital literacy course comprising of six 2 hour workshops
Aimed primarily at new PhD students
Builds up skills over programme
Specialist advice and support from liaison librarians
Taught by CLT / Library staff
Supported online in Moodle
Week 1: Starting a literature search
Week 2: Going beyond Google
Week 3: Locating research publications
Week 4: Specialist materials: primary sources
Week 5: Managing information
Week 6: Next steps and keeping up to date
Overview on LSE Library website
Activity based workshops all in computer classrooms
Support in Moodle but primarily F2F
Based around SCONUL 7 pillars and designed (and redesigned) to support student learning
Post course evaluation
Tailored feedback given to each student
Course evaluation forms used routinely in information and digital literacy classes. More detailed form used in MI512 programme
Analysed usage stats of information literacy resources in Moodle for undergraduate core course (LSE100)
Carry out staff survey every year and ask about training
Informal feedback from workshops and events such as LSE Teaching Day - Google Generation debate in 2010 and skills debate in 2011
IL research: DELILA
Research not core to role at LSE so externally funding
Currently managing 12 month JISC / HEA project in open educational resources programme
DELILA: Developing Educator Learning and Information Literacies for Accreditation
Turning LSE and Birmingham’s IL resources into OERs
Specifically releasing content for those seeking accreditation for their teaching from the HEA
DELILA: emerging issues
IL / DL not explicit in UKPSF but underpins it: thus mapping important
IL / DL needs to be embedded in PGCerts and other accredited teaching courses
IL / DL resources contain 3rd party content that is often inappropriate to copyright clear
IL / DL resources may be more context specific than other teaching resources
Creative commons licensing could be used more routinely to help librarians share resources and good practice
Short projects to explore future of academic libraries - led by Cambridge University Library and supervised by Prof John Naughton
Currently undertaking research from May - July 2011 and on sabbatical from LSE
Working with Emma Coonan from CUL
Developing an undergraduate curriculum for information literacy for 2016
Desk research and interviews with experts in the field
How to approach IL research?
Literature review: LISA / LISTA but also advanced Google searching and searching educational databases
Search limited to very recent material
Search terms problematic: information literacy is a library term
Limited scope of a 10 week study
But need to produce something practical
Work to date
Brainstorming with project partner
Discussions with librarians at Cambridge - reaction to revised SCONUL 7 pillars
Semi-structured interviews with IL experts (RIN Information Handling Group)
Questions emailed to other education and technology experts
Lots of reading and thinking!
Challenges of researching IL
What do you think the challenges of carrying out research in this area might be?
Is it important to be a researcher practitioner?
What sort of activities are important to researcher practitioners?
Challenges of being a researcher / practitioner
Finding time - the day job gets in the way of research and writing!
Credibility as a researcher when working in an institution that doesn’t have an education or information science department
Where to publish - the librarian’s echo chamber
Tips for success
Apply for external or internal project funds to facilitate research
Can give you time and project staff
Build reflection and feedback into your regular processes - e.g. annual surveys
Get published - even if just internally
Network, network, network
Find a like minded friend / colleague
What next for me at LSE?
Drafted an information and digital literacy strategy for LSE
More closely align training programmes to the Researcher Development Framework
Continue to work collaboratively with other training providers across LSE to avoid duplication / better target training
Follow on course to MI512
More research on impact of LSE100
Email j. [email_address] .ac. uk
Personal Blog http: //elearning . lse .ac. uk/blogs/socialsoftware/
DELILA Project Blog
http: //delilaopen . wordpress .com
Arcadia Fellow for Easter Term based at Wolfson College / CARET so do get in touch!
Jones, C, Ramanau, R, Cross, S and Healing, G (2010) ‘Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university?’, Computers & Education , 54, (3) , 722-732.
Margaryan, A and Littlejohn, A. (2009). Are digital natives a myth or reality? Students use of technologies for learning. Available at: http://www.academy. gcal .ac.uk/anoush/documents/DigitalNativesMythOrReality-MargaryanAndLittlejohn-draft-111208. pdf (Accessed 2nd June 2010)
Rowlands, I. et al ‘The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future’, Aslib Proceedings New Information Perspectives , 60, (4) 290-310.
SCONUL (2011) The SCONUL 7 Pillars Core model. Available at: http://www. sconul .ac. uk/groups/information_literacy/seven_pillars .html
Secker, Jane and Macrae-Gibson, Rowena. (2011) Evaluating MI512: an information literacy course for PhD students. Library Review , 60 (2). pp. 96-107. ISSN 0024-2535. Available at: http: //eprints . lse .ac.uk/32975/
Secker, Jane and Chatzigavriil, Athina and Leape, Jonathan (2010) The impact of technologies in a first year undergraduate course for social scientists. In: European Conference on E-learning (ECEL 2010), 4 - 5th November 2010, Porto, Portugal. Available at: http: //eprints . lse .ac.uk/32968/