Study No. 3
Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
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We look forward to receiving your papers for review plus any suggestions, comments or questions that you may have. Powered by. As stated earlier, the Standards is a skills-based document. When considering the historical context of this document, its focus on the activity of research makes sense. Information literacy had developed over time from a job skill to one that was more closely related to research. Meanwhile, bibliographic instruction had also shifted from the original concept-based approaches to ones that focused more on teaching students basic access skills.
The Standards was also developed at a time when academic librarians were seeking to stake a place for themselves in the missions of their institutions, which had become more closely tied to the employability of their graduates. The limitations of the Standards have been well documented over time. More accurately, the Standards assume a single research context: that of library-based academic research. The closest the document comes to referencing the contextual nature of research is the occasional gesture toward discipline-specific research, which is still a highly academic notion see table 2.
Despite the aspiration of the Standards toward transferability, 41 research studies that have tested this idea tend to have mixed results. Standard 1: The information-literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed. Standard 2: The information-literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently. Standard 3: The information-literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system.
Standard 4: The information-literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Standard 5: 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. Because the Standards does not adequately take into account the contextual nature of research, neither does Standards -based information literacy instruction. Instead, such instruction focuses primarily if not exclusively on teaching students the basic skills associated with library-based academic research.
We know this because influential tools created to standardize the assessment of information literacy learning, such as the Information Literacy VALUE rubrics and the learning goals suggested by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education, reflect it. The influence of the Standards has had a noticeable effect on the way librarians think about teaching information literacy. The Standards has also had an effect on how information literacy is perceived by those outside the library field. When Gullikson asked nonlibrary faculty at what academic level they would expect students to have achieved individual learning outcomes from the Standards , the majority of those who responded indicated that they would expect students to have mastered these skills in the early part of their careers in higher education, if not before.
The Standards provides no path to introducing students to the contextual nature of research. Because of this, the idea that research is both an activity and a subject of study became lost in our information literacy instruction and our thinking about information literacy instruction despite the fact that it remained a prevalent theme in our professional literature. In insisting on the importance of context to the research process, 49 the Framework gives us a way to change our thinking and our instruction.
An understanding of this concept enables novice learners to critically examine all evidence—be it a short blog post or a peer-reviewed conference proceeding—and to ask relevant questions about origins, context, and suitability for the current information need. Novice learners may need to rely on basic indicators of authority, such as type of publication or author credentials, where experts recognize schools of thought or discipline-specific paradigms.
Experts recognize that information creations are valued differently in different contexts, such as academia or the workplace. The value of information is manifested in various contexts, including publishing practices, access to information, the commodification of personal information, and intellectual property laws. Experts realize that information searching is a contextualized, complex experience that affects, and is affected by, the cognitive, affective, and social dimensions of the searcher. Of course, the Framework, like the Standards , is also a product of ACRL and so, as Foasberg points out, its contexts of interest are still primarily academic in nature.
Material Study No. 1 — Debra Bilow Photographs
In the meantime, it is not difficult to imagine how the six frames could apply to nonacademic forms of research. It may be true that not every threshold concept will apply to every research context. For some, that might be seen as a shortcoming of the present argument.
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However, it is worth remembering that the Framework is intended to be a flexible document, making it clear that there is room for more threshold concepts than those identified in the original version. Granted, this work is not intended for broad implementation the way the Framework is, but both documents are of a similar spirit. As stated earlier, students often enter the information literacy classroom unable to recognize that, while the skills and knowledge they have developed are valuable in some research contexts, they may be less so in others.
For information literacy instructors, this has been a significant barrier, one that the Standards provided no meaningful way to overcome.
The metaconcept that has been established here gives us a lens through which to understand research as not just an activity but also a subject of study. The Framework provides a path to pass on this knowledge to students by introducing them to the importance of context to the research process. The next section describes how a common model for composition instruction could be adapted for this purpose.
In Standards -based information literacy instruction, students are introduced to the conventions of academic research at the same time that they are expected to apply those conventions. They are expected to do this correctly without ever having seen or studied an example of such research, except perhaps one provided by their instructor for informational purposes. Instead, students first study a selected example of a genre of writing to learn about the conventions of that genre and then attempt to apply those conventions in their own work.
Information literacy instruction could benefit from emulating this structure. Rather than organizing an information literacy course around units based on skills, sources, or tools, the course could be organized instead around different research contexts. In this approach, research skills like those described by the Standards would still be valuable but would only be taught after students first had the opportunity to study an example piece of research.
They might also study the way the author gives credit to those sources, perhaps noticing that, in some research contexts, credit is given through formal citation while in others it is done through contextual links, quotes from interview subjects, or some other way. By doing this, students would learn how the conventions of research change from context to context. They may begin to develop a more realistic view of how much more there is to learn beyond the skills they already have and why it is worth learning.
As an illustration of how a unit in a course designed like this would work, consider that in a composition course students might first be given Letter from a Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King Jr. In a unit on academic research in an information literacy course, students might first be given an example research essay or scholarly article.
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Rather than studying the writing, they would look at the evidence of research in the source. They might be asked to notice how the author uses citations or footnotes and includes a list of sources at the end. Attention might be drawn to the nature of the sources the author used, and critical thought might be given to why he or she made those choices. A student could also be asked to comment on how each source was used in the example piece: to add new information, to present and answer a contradicting view, to pull a quote, and so on.
The same could be done with units on other types of research. In a different unit, a personal blog post could be used as an example of personal research in which the evidence of research might appear as contextual links rather than formal citations. Or a news article could be studied as an example of journalistic or professional research in which quotes from sources with firsthand knowledge of an event are privileged over other types of sources. In this piece, King borrows ideas from and makes reference to Socrates and the Bible to support his ideas.
He also relies on the authority granted to him by his own personal experience with the issues he is discussing.
After studying the conventions of a genre of research through an example piece, students could then be taught the skills needed to complete the type of research each product represents. As a culminating project, students could be required to create a research product of their own that follows the conventions they learned about and then reflect on the ways that they used or challenged those conventions in their own work. What is described above would be most appropriate for a general information literacy course taught at the undergraduate level. For example, such instruction could focus more closely on the evaluation of research as it is most often represented in a field of study or profession.
They might also benefit from reviewing studies of information behavior of relevant populations to gain an understanding of how these populations interact with and create information in various settings. Instructors could invite students to think critically about the research practices in their fields and reflect on areas of potential improvement. It is necessary at this point to acknowledge that the common model for teaching composition described earlier is not without its critics in that field.
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Connors, for example, argues that using genres and modes to teach writing is more of a convenience to the instructor than a reflection of how writing actually works. In implementing a similar model for information literacy instruction, information literacy instructors may also have concerns. Foremost among these may be a reluctance to teach research outside the discipline-agnostic academic context of past Standards -based instruction.
To do so, it has been argued in the past, would be to tread on the toes of disciplinary faculty who are the rightfully recognized experts on research in their fields of study and also perhaps to stray outside our professional strengths. As far as professional strengths, the Standards may have been limited to library-based academic research but the study of research in the LIS field is not, showing that contexts outside academia are, in fact, within our professional domain.
Even if they were not, librarians tend to portray themselves as research experts as a way of communicating their value to their institutions. Taking advantage of the ways in which researchers in our own field have cultivated an understanding of how research works in a variety of contexts can only enhance our ability to label ourselves this way. Another possible area of concern might be one anticipated by Townsend, Brunetti, and Hofer who acknowledge that threshold concepts like the ones found in the Framework tend to privilege certain ways of thinking. Combination Study in F major after Op.
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