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Assignment ideas fostering information literacy skills

  1. Scholarly vs. Popular Publications: Compare and contrast discussions of the same topic in a popular magazine and a scholarly journal on the criteria of authority, content, style, bias, audience, etc. (Incorporates ACRL Standards 1,3)
  2. Letters to the Editor: Each student chooses a topic of current national interest and writes a letter expressing his/her opinion on the subject to the editor of a local newspaper. Students work in small groups to critically examine one another's letters and to identify any dubious statements. Each student is assigned to substantiate those statements that were singled out by the group as needing more convincing evidence or authority. Research is required for the process, and the result is a 750-word essay, with documentation in the form of notes and a bibliography. (Incorporates ACRL Standards 3.5)
  3. Database Searching: Provide a precise statement of your topic, a list of keywords or thesaurus terms (as appropriate), and a list of actual searches to enter into appropriate library research databases you've chosen. After carrying out the search(es), write a report explaining why you chose that database and describe how the search results either met or did not meet your expectations. Can work in groups and present to class. (Incorporates ACRL Standards 1,2)
  4. Comparing print and web resources: In groups of 3-5, have students examine pairs of items (books or journal articles and web sites) to determine indicators of quality in each item; where exactly they found those indicators; the appropriate use for each item. Have them report their findings to the class after the class has had a chance to also evaluate the sites. Have an open discussion of what is and isn't on the Web. (Incorporates ACRL Standards 1,2)
  5. Research Activity: Finding Related Sources using Bibliographies: Students find an article for their topic and then, from that article, try to locate other articles listed in the bibliography.  (Incorporates ACRL Standard 2)
  6. Evaluating Internet sites:
    • Brainstorm evaluative criteria for Web sites and use criteria to evaluate selected sites. Students find two Internet sites on topic, use evaluation criteria to ascertain quality of information on sites and write an evaluation of each site.
    • Give students printouts or urls for several Internet sites. Students rate them according to appropriateness for college level research, reliability of information, currency, etc.
    (Incorporates ACRL Standard 3)
  7. Annotated Bibliography or Webliography: Students create an annotated bibliography or webliography of sources used for their projects and explain why they chose each source and its relevancy. (Incorporates ACRL Standards 1,2,3,5)