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ENGL 414: Faculty Resources

Research Writing

Key Scholarship on Information Literacy and Writing



These three articles provide a good working overview of the concept of Information Literacy (IL) as it has developed in conversation between research librarians and other scholars, particularly those in the field of Composition and Rhetoric. These short articles are a terrific starting place for a teacher-scholar looking to learn more about IL.

Understanding the ACRL Information Literacy Standards

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association, approved a set of Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education in 2000. As of 2016, these standards are being replaced by the ACRL’s “Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.” 

Nevertheless, these original standards are ones that have been informative in the teaching and scholarship in IL. They may have informed pedagogy and student learning outcomes that faculty continue to rely upon. The five original IL standards are as follows: [Anna, I’m not numbering these because I’m afraid that will mess up the formatting and will cause you a big headache.]

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

The information literate student access needed information effectively and efficiently.

The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.

The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. 

Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

The Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education was finalized February 2nd, 2015. In the introduction to the new Framework, the authors explain that it is: ...based on a cluster of interconnected core concepts, with flexible options for implementation, rather than on a set of standards or learning outcomes, or any prescriptive enumeration of skills. At the heart of this Framework are conceptual understandings that organize many other concepts and ideas about information, research, and scholarship into a coherent whole. These conceptual understandings are informed by the work of Wiggins and McTighe,2 which focuses on essential concepts and questions in developing curricula, and also by threshold concepts,3

The Framework is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions. The six concepts that anchor the frames are presented alphabetically:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual

  • Information Creation as a Process

  • Information Has Value

  • Research as Inquiry

  • Scholarship as Conversation

  • Searching as Strategic Exploration 


Activities for Students

The following three activities have been adapted from ENGL A414: Research Writing. They can help a faculty mentor guide a student researcher toward more autonomous work or progress on an independent research project. Each activity is matched with one or more Information Literacy frames as taken from the ACRL Information Literacy Framework. [Anna, I’ll email you the three PDFs]

The Research Writing in Your Discipline Interview prepares a student to conduct an informational interview with a researcher in their area of study. This activity enables students to engage with the Information Literacy frames of Research as Inquiry (e.g., learn new investigative methods) and Searching as Strategic Exploration (e.g., seeking guidance from experts). 

The Forum Analysis Activity allows the student to explore a potential forum (e.g., a journal) to which the research can be directed. Before completing this activity, the student should read James Porter’s “Intertextuality and the Discourse Community.” Rhetoric Review 5.1 (1986): 34-47. This activity enables students to engage with the Information Literacy frames of Scholarship as Conversation (e.g., understanding the responsibility of entering a scholarly conversation through a specific participatory channel) and Authority Is Constructed and Contextual (e.g., recognize the information ecosystem where authorities actively connect with one another)

The Reverse Outline and Revision Plan Activity guides the student through assessing the content of a rough draft and communicating a plan for revising (not editing) an unfinished project. This activity will enable a student to conduct self-assessment of the research created and for the research process. Students using this prompt will engage with the Information Literacy frame of Information Creation as a Process (e.g., value matching an information need with an appropriate product). 

Subject Guide

Anna Bjartmarsdottir's picture
Anna Bjartmarsdottir

Dr. Heather Adams