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University of Connecticut University Libraries


Information Literacy Instruction

Standard 1: Defining your needs, Knowing the sources

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

Basic Skills

  • Defines or modifies the information need to achieve a manageable focus
  • Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need
  • Recognizes that knowledge can be organized into disciplines that influence the way information is accessed
  • Identifies the purpose and audience of potential resources (e.g., popular vs. scholarly, current vs. historical)
  • Differentiates between primary and secondary sources, recognizing how their use and importance vary with each discipline
  • Determines the availability of needed information and makes decisions on broadening the information seeking process beyond local resources (e.g., interlibrary loan; using resources at other locations; obtaining images, videos, text, or sound)
  • Confers with instructors and participates in class discussions, peer workgroups, and electronic discussions to identify a research topic, or other information need
  • Develops a thesis statement and formulates questions based on the information need
  • Reviews the initial information need to clarify, revise, or refine the question
  • Explores general information sources to increase familiarity with the topic

Advanced Skills

  • Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, experimentation, and/or analysis to produce new information
  • Knows how information is formally and informally produced, organized, and disseminated
  • Identifies the value and differences of potential resources in a variety of formats (e.g.,multimedia, database, website, data set, audio/visual, book)
  • Considers the feasibility of acquiring a new language or skill (e.g., foreign or discipline-based) in order to gather needed information and to understand its context
  • Defines a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information
  • Describes criteria used to make information decisions and choices
  • Realizes that information may need to be constructed with raw data from primary sources