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Standards in Practice

Page history last edited by Gary Schmidt 14 years, 2 months ago

The following are examples of library based assignments that can be adapted and used within any discipline/subject field and require students to explore, utilize and evaluate various library resources as well as Internet resources.


These assignments are designed to align with the indicated Progression Standards for Information Literacy.


I. Opposing Viewpoints

This assignment emphasizes Introductory Level skills.

Select an issue or topic that offers the opportunity to defend or reject a particular position. Divide the class into two groups (pro or con) and have students gather evidence in support of their assigned position. Have students discuss their findings during an in-class debate. Students will learn to formulate search statements specific to their needs, identify and evaluate sources of information and use that information to construct arguments.

Introductory Level in Standards:

  • Identify a research topic or information need – Introductory Skill 1(a)
  • Identify and select appropriate tool for information need - Introductory Skill 2.1(c)
  • Identify search terms relevant to research topic - Introductory Skill 2.2(a)
  • Use a multi-disciplinary database to locate information - Introductory Skill 2.3(b)
  • Organize gathered information - Introductory Skill 2.5(b)
  • Evaluate information sources for their relevance to need, appropriateness/audience, authority, reliability, currency and point of view/bias - Introductory Skill 3(a)


II. Citation Examination

This assignment emphasizes Introductory & Gateway Level skills.

Have students review a bibliography found in their textbooks (or alternate source). Ask students to identify what type of resource is denoted by each entry. Ask students to locate and obtain a copy of one or more of the listed sources. Students will learn how to identify sources of information through citations and recognize the value and importance of utilizing a bibliography to gather additional sources of information.

Introductory and Gateway Level in Standards:

  • Use bibliographies or citations to find materials - Gateway Skill 2.3(c)
  • Use a variety of technologies to select and access resources - Introductory Skill 2.5(a)
  • Identify similarities and differences among types of information sources (e.g. books, journals, newspapers, Internet, reference materials) - Introductory Skill 2.1(a)


III. Annotated Bibliography

This assignment emphasizes Gateway Level skills.

Have students find a specified number (and type) of sources on a topic and write descriptive or evaluative annotations. Students will learn how to locate and access library resources and become accustomed to developing search strategies by extracting keywords or phrases from a topic. Students will also learn the format of a particular citation style.

Gateway Level in Standards:

  • Use subject or discipline specific information sources to better inform an understanding of the research topic or information need and to determine the extent of available information sources before proceeding - Gateway Skill 1(a)
  • Recognize differences between general and discipline specific sources - Gateway Skill 2.1(a)
  • Conduct subject searches using appropriate controlled vocabulary - Gateway Skill 2.2(a)
  • Make consistent and correct use of a citation style appropriate to the discipline - Gateway Skill 5(a)


IV. Research Process Paper

This assignment could be used to assess Introductory OR Gateway Level skills

Have students write a reflective paper describing their research process and outcomes.  Criteria for such an assignment can be tailored to the assessment goals of the instructor, but might include any or all of the following: 

  • What specific tools and resources did you use? (Introductory 1.c and/or Gateway 1.a; Introductory 2.1.a-c; Gateway 2.1.a-b)
  • Which were most/least helpful, and why?  (Introductory 3.a)
  • In what ways did you utilize resources beyond the physical walls of the campus library? Please explain.  (Gateway 2.3.a)
  • What search strategies did you use? (Introductory and/or Gateway 2.2)
  • What modifications did you make when your searches didn’t turn out as you had hoped? (Introductory 2.4.b; Gateway 2.4.a-b)
  • What discoveries did you make in the library by serendipity? And which through carefully planned search strategies?  (Introductory 2.2.a; Gateway 2.2.a-b)
  • What did you learn about evaluating and selecting information on your topic or in your discipline? (Gateway 2.1.a; Gateway 2.3.b; Gateway 3.c-d)
  • What specific evaluation techniques did you utilize? (Introductory 3.a-d; and/or Gateway 3.a-e)
  • How did you deal with contradictory source material or biased information? (Introductory 3.a, c; Gateway 3.b, e)
  • What would you do differently next time and why? (Gateway4.a)
  • How did you grow as a researcher and scholar through this process?  (Gateway 4.a)


V. Understanding Primary and Secondary Sources within the Disciplines   

This assignment emphasizes Gateway Level skills

Have students choose a historic event and read a primary source/eyewitness account (e.g. letter, diary, newspaper story) and a secondary source treatment (e.g. history book or textbook) and make comparisons.  This can also work with literary work (literature as primary source; criticism as secondary) or science/social science (original research article as primary source; popular press treatment as secondary.  (Modified from Raritan Valley Community College, “Designing Innovative Research Assignments”) (This assignment primarily addresses Gateway Level skill 3.c.)


VI. Examining Bias

This assignment could be used to assess Introductory OR Gateway Level skills

Have students research a company or organization and compare information from the company or organization’s website with information about the company/organization in the news.  Have students identify differences in how the company /organization sees and presents itself and the way others perceive them, and articulate why it matters.   

(Possible standards addressed, (depending on assignment details): Introductory  2.3.d; Introductory  2.2.a; Introductory; 2.3.b or Gateway 2.3.b; Introductory  3.a, b, c, d;  or Gateway 3.b)



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