Information Literacy Core Competencies

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Strategize research

Students explore topics and create research plans.

Level 1: Emerging

Students explore topics of interest broadly in order to develop and refine research questions.

  • Create and modify a research plan as needed until sufficient information is gathered.
  • Browse and freely explore search engines, textbooks, encyclopedias and wikis to gather background information on a topic.
  • Develop a preliminary question, opinion or thesis on a topic.

Level 2: Developing

Students engage with deeper questions on specialized topics, including original research that contributes to the field of study.

  • Revise question, opinion or thesis as necessary in response to new information, including conflicting or alternate viewpoints.
  • Develop an original research question that contributes to the body of knowledge in the discipline, profession or community.

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Search and find

Students use search techniques to locate information for research. 

Level 1: Emerging

Students use simple search techniques to locate information based on research need. Students evaluate information to determine the most appropriate resources within context. 

  • Design and modify search strategies as necessary in response to information found.
  • Identify appropriate information portals including core research databases (e.g., JSTOR and Web of Science), web search engines (e.g., Google Scholar), library catalogs, government resources, open data sets, etc.
  • Search for a breadth of information sources on a topic, including both traditional and emerging formats of scholarly conversation.

Level 2: Developing

Students use advanced search techniques and tools to locate information from various types of sources. Students evaluate the ways in which differing perspectives impact the creation and consumption of information.

  • Design advanced search strategies that are both effective and efficient by using interface features (e.g., tables of contents, indexes, search limiters, Boolean logic and citation chasing).
  • Choose primary, secondary and tertiary sources of information as appropriate.
  • Use tools and services as needed to search for and acquire resources beyond WMU (e.g., interlibrary loan, document delivery and data sharing systems).

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Think critically and evaluate

Students synthesize and interpret information. 

Level 1: Emerging

Students will begin to synthesize and interpret information in order to effectively communicate knowledge and solve problems.

  • Appropriately interpret, synthesize and communicate information to integrate new ideas in a format and context appropriate to an intended audience.
  • Use information in context to analyze questions, solve problems and make decisions.
  • Evaluate information to determine whether, why and how it addresses the research question.
  • Evaluate the authority of a source given the context in which the information was created and is being used.

Level 2: Developing

Students will synthesize information from different perspectives and experiences. Students will engage in conversations as both information creators and consumers to negotiate meaning, in both traditional and emerging publishing environments.

  • Effectively communicate information in unpredictable and evolving publishing environments (e.g., social media, open access and open data).
  • Articulate how different cultural perspectives and experiences influence both the creation and consumption of information.
  • Collaborate and participate in scholarly, professional or creative communities (e.g., associations, teams, networks and communities of practice) to utilize and contribute to the knowledge of collective groups.
  • Identify perspectives and points of view in information sources.
  • Articulate the purpose and value of peer review in the context of scholarly communication.

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Use information ethically

Students consider ethical and legal issues when using information.

Level 1: Emerging

Students will respect the ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published and/or proprietary information.

  • Cite sources and contributing works of others appropriately.
  • Use quotations, paraphrasing and summarizing to integrate information appropriately into communications.

Level 2: Developing

Students will observe both general and specialized ethical standards for the access, use and dissemination of information.

  • Handle and use data, information and research results in a transparent and ethical manner, according to professional and/or scholarly standards.
  • Make informed choices as information creators regarding where and how information is published, recognizing that this impacts how others will perceive and use it.