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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

Information Literacy in ENG2: An Instructor Guide: 2. Developing Assignments and Activities

The ACRL Framework for Information Literacy

Developed over the past few years with the input of thousands of academic librarians, the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education incorporated the language and values of constructivist learning theory and critical pedagogy in the creation of a more comprehensive, nuanced, and information-society centered view of  the different facets of information literacy. 

The tabs below represent each of the six frames of the framework, and include definitions, learning outcomes, and corresponding assignments and activities. 

Important Concepts & Corresponding Assignments

"Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are able to:

  • Understand the differences between different types of information resources
  • Identify which type of information source best meets their information need
  • Identify the purpose and audience of possible resources

Deconstruct a Source
Students analyze the parts of different types of persuasive resources on a similar subject (i.e. scholarly articles, magazine editorials, news reports, etc) in order to gain an understanding of the differences between resource types. This could be an in-class activity where each group tackles a single source, or it could be a take-home activity where students compare and contrast two different types of resources.

Web Source Evaluation: The CRAP Test
The CRAP test concisely outlines ways of evaluating whether a source on the open web is credible.

"Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are able to:

  • Articulate the differences between scholarly and popular materials
  • Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is published/disseminated
  • Choose an appropriate form for their research product based on their dissemination intent

Popular vs. Scholarly
Similar to the "Deconstruct a Source" activity, but narrowed to exploring the differences between popular and scholarly resources, in these assignments, students find a magazine or newspaper article that cites a research study, then track down that research study in scholarly literature. Students then compare the findings of the research study to its discussion in the popular resource. The intention is to guide students toward thinking about the dissemination of scholarly research findings in popular media.

Primary vs. Secondary sources

Students examine primary sources and consider how a particular resource exists within its own discursive framework, and how it can be or has been used in secondary research. 

Information Timeline

If an assignment or activity focuses on contemporary events, discussing the 'information timeline' gives students a sense of how the passage of time effects reportage and analysis of an event. 

"Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes
Students are able to:
  • (Begin to) think about themselves as meaningful contributors to a subject's scholarly trajectory
  • Utilize textual evidence in the service of creating their own original arguments
  • Recognize the importance of becoming conversant with the predominant ideas, theorists, and vernacular surrounding their researched subject area

Tracking Ideas through Citations

Students chart the evolution of a scholarly conversation through the use of citations.

Wikipedia as Timeline

Wikipedia can be a great teaching tool to demonstrate the different theorists and camps of thinking that contributed to the evolution of an idea. 

"Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are able to:

  • Articulate a manageable research question
  • Recognize the evolving nature of their research question
  • Understand and embrace the iterative, fluid nature of the research process

"Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are able to:

  • Cite resources correctly and appropriately.
  • Understand the concept of and issues surrounding intellectual property.
  • Develop an understanding of their own 'information privilege'.

Wikipedia Assignment
Students locate an article on Wikipedia which has what they think to be incorrect information and, using a proprietary reference source (such as Oxford Reference), edit the entry and cite the sources they used in that edit. 

Citation Exercises
Students learn citation formats through game-based activities. 

What Comprises Plagiarism?
Students look at examples in order to determine what plagiarism is, why a passage may be plagiaristic, and fix improperly cited writing. 

"Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops" (ACRL 2015).

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students are able to:

  • Understand how collections of information are organized in order to effect optimal information retrieval
  • Identify appropriate sources for an information need and navigate those sources effectively
  • Refine search strategies as necessary

Differentiating Between Databases

Though not at the point at which they are performing program-specific in-depth research, students should become familiar with the breadth of library databases available to them, the differences between those databases, and why they might choose one over another. 

Best Bet Databases for First Year Students

Novice information-seekers are not typically at the level of content knowledge within their program (or any program for that matter) to be able to parse the jargon-heavy, scholarly work of a discipline. We recommend guiding your students toward multidisciplinary databases that include newspaper and magazine articles in addition to scholarly literature.