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A guide on incorporating Information Literacy into your courses

What is Information Literacy

Information literacy is the ability

  • to know when information is needed,
  • to locate it efficiently regardless of its location, format or medium,
  • to evaluate its relevance, authoritativeness, and validity,
  • to use it to build new knowledge, and
  • to communicate that knowledge.

Information Literacy @NJIT

NJIT Institute Information Literacy Plan

The goal of the Institute Information Literacy Plan (approved by the Committee on Academic Affairs on May 20, 2009) is to ensure that NJIT undergraduate students graduate with adequate and competitive information literacy skills. This plan is intended to meet and/or exceed the Middle States Commission on Higher Education information literacy skills accreditation requirements and the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education academic licensure rules.

Core Information Literacy Competencies at NJIT

1. Define the research topic and the need for information by:

  • a. Articulating a research question, problem, or issue.
  • b. Obtaining background information to identify and define key concepts and terminology related to the research (e.g., putting the research question in context).
  • c. Defining a manageable focus and timeline for completing the project.
  • d. Identifying the types of materials that can be used for research (books, journals, Web sites, government documents, primary sources, datasets, media, technical reports, etc.( and that are needed and appropriate for the project.
  • e. Recognizing that information may be limited, unavailable, or may not exist on a given topic.

2. Develop and implement an effective search strategy appropriate for an information need by:
  • a. Differentiating among the types of reference sources (specialized encyclopedias, article databases, citation indexes, bibliographies, library catalogs, search engines, etc.) and the purposes of each.
  • b. Choosing and accessing appropriate reference sources for a given research question.
  • c. Using search terms appropriate to the research tool and the topic.
  • d. Transferring skills learned in previous research efforts to new projects.

3. Locate and retrieve information by:
  • a. Using the library’s online catalog, online union catalogs, article databases, Web search engineers, and other research tools effectively, in print and online.
  • b. Interpreting citations accurately and using appropriate components of a citation to search for the items.
  • c. Recognizing key elements of call numbers and URLs and using them to locate library materials and Web sites.

4. Evaluate information by:
  • a. Investigating the author’s or sponsoring body’s expertise, credibility, and points of view.
  • b. Assessing the authority, accuracy, reliability, completeness, and timeliness of the information found in books, articles, Web sites, etc.
  • c. Distinguishing between reliable and unreliable sources of information, scholarly and popular sources, substantiated facts and points of view.

5. Assess the research strategy by:
  • a. Determining whether the information retrieved is relevant and sufficient for the project or whether additional sources are needed.
  • b. Analyzing successes and failures, revising research topics, and trying different techniques and research tools as needed.

6. Employ principles consistent with the ethical and legal uses of information by:
  • a. Demonstrating knowledge of the issues regarding intellectual property and plagiarism in a U.S. academic setting.
  • b. Citing and acknowledging sources appropriately.
  • c. Creating accurate references using a consistent citation style.

7. Organize, synthesize, and communicate information by:
  • a. Examining, categorizing, and storing citations to the materials discovered while conducting research, e.g., in reading and online searching.
  • b. Managing the information selected and the research materials consulted.
  • c. Using and integrating information from a variety of sources appropriate to the research question.
  • d. Presenting the information in an effective and coherent manner to communicate it to others.

8. Effectively navigate the body of knowledge within the student’s major discipline by:
  • a. Recognizing how the literature in the major discipline is organized.
  • b. Distinguishing among primary, secondary, and tertiary sources in the major discipline and their uses.
  • c. Using key research tools and databases in the major discipline.

These core competencies were derived in whole or part from the UCLA Library Information Literacy Program Steering Committee, "Information Literacy at UCLA: The Core Competencies" (March 7, 2005). UCLA Library. Information Literacy. Paper 03.

Subject Guide

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