This is the "Info Lit in the Writing Initiative" page of the "Information Literacy" guide.
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Information Literacy  

Information about Information Literacy initiatives at PCCC, as well as a "how to" guide for faculty creating Info Lit assignments
Last Updated: Aug 4, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Info Lit in the Writing Initiative Print Page

Info Lit Documents

Librarians have developed a master IL Rubric that allows instructors to assess IL competencies on a four-point scale ranging from beginning, developing, competent to accomplished.  In addition to the rubric, a list of performance indicators associated with each of the five major IL competencies can be used for ideas on how to incorporate the IL competencies into WI assignments.


Information Literacy in Writing Intensive Courses

Writing Intensive courses are required to have an assignment or assignments that incorporate information literacy.  The information literacy requirement doesn't need to be contained in one assignment such as a major research paper; in fact, it is often beneficial to both instructor and student to break the research process down into steps (see the Creating Assignments page for ideas).

Information literacy consists of:


1. Defining and articulating the need for information

2. Information retrieval

3. Citation of sources

4. Evaluation of information and information sources

5. Effective use/synthesis of information for a specific purpose

The most effective assignments incorporate most or all of these major competencies.  See the IL performance Indicators document from the box at the left for ideas on how to incorporate these competencies into assignments.

How can I create effective Information Literacy assignments?

The Creating Assignments page contains examples of assignments, and the WI Information Literacy Assignment Template located in the box to the left can be tailored to most subject areas rather easily.  The following best practices are strongly recommended:

  • Clearly state the purpose and scope of the assignment
  • Craft the assignment so that it requires information retrieval, evaluation, and synthesis of outside information with the course material and/or the students’ existing knowledge base
  • Clearly specify the amount and types of sources that are required
  • Encourage the proper use of in-text citations
  • Specify the style of citation that is required

How can my students complete their Information Literacy assignments effectively?

Based on our evaluation of student writing thus far, if your students follow these 5 guidelines, they will improve their information literacy skills, which in turn will improve the quality of their writing assignments:

1. Use the appropriate amount and type of outside sources as specified by the instructor.  If no specific types of sources are stated, use subscription Library resources as opposed to the free Web.  The free Web is great for finding facts quickly, but the type of writing required in college courses requires more sophisticated analysis.

2. When choosing sources, you don’t necessarily have to settle for the initial search results.  We are used to getting effective results quickly in Google, but as stated above, the type of information needed for academic writing requires more sophisticated analysis.  Most library subscription sources allow you to sort results by relevance, but don’t be discouraged if you have to look beyond the first ten results. 

3. Be sure to choose sources that match your topic and reading level.  While something like an encyclopedia article might be too simplistic, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal might be too sophisticated and difficult to use for a typical undergraduate writing assignment.

4. Cite your sources in the specified format.  Most library subscription sources have a feature that formats article citations in the style of your choice, which you can then copy and paste into a Works Cited list at the end of the assignment.

5. Last but not least, use in-text citation when paraphrasing or quoting material from outside sources.  Anything that is not "common knowledge" should be cited in-text.

How can I assess Information Literacy effectively?

Use the Information Literacy Rubrics that are available for download from the box to the left.  The rubrics are customizable and may be combined with other rubrics such as the writing and critical thinking rubrics.  Information literacy may be assessed by itself, or (more commonly) as a portion of the overall grade for an assignment.

Getting Help 

All 3 PCCC campuses are staffed with professional reference librarians who are available to help in person, by phone, or by email.  Via the PCCC Library Web site, students have access to a wide array of reputable sources from both on-campus and off-campus.  Online tutorials covering various aspects of information literacy are also available.  Ken Karol is the information literacy specialist for the Writing Initiative.  Please contact him (see profile box to the right) if you need help creating or assessing information literacy assignments.

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Ken Karol
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Technology Resource Specialist
Office: A 121 (Library, Paterson Campus)
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