Presentation Title

Making it REAL: Teaching Information Literacy Skills through Situated Learning

Location

Room 210

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

Long the primary locus for information literacy skills practice in the undergraduate classroom, the traditional research paper assignment—which asks students to formulate an argument on a topic, while integrating an often-predetermined number of sources both supporting and opposing their own position—has increasingly come under fire, with scholars and instructors criticizing its artificiality as a genre, its decontextualized mode of production, its inability to engage students in meaningful inquiry, and its tendency to separate writing and research into completely distinct activities. To gain further insight into the intersections and interferences of students’ research behaviors and research assignments, the researchers studied an undergraduate composition course featuring two parallel research assignments: the traditional research essay and a REAL (Rhetorical Exigence and Active Learning) project, in which students worked collaboratively to identify a compelling “real-world” problem in their own lives, conduct relevant research, and produce the necessary text to address the issue. The REAL project was designed specifically to make the research and writing process consequential, iterative, and collaborative. The researchers analyzed students’ process journals for both assignments and conducted a focus group at the end of the course to determine how students responded to these distinct research projects. We will share our analysis of this data, which provides insight into the students’ motivations and engagement, information-seeking behaviors, and evolving understanding of the research process. Finally, we will offer instructors and librarians who teach writing and research suggestions and tips for creating meaningful, effective assignments that help students evolve into information-literate writers.

Presentation Description

To gain further insight into the intersections and interferences of students’ research behaviors and research assignments, the researchers studied an undergraduate composition course featuring two parallel research assignments: the traditional research essay and a REAL (Rhetorical Exigence and Active Learning) project, in which students worked collaboratively to identify a compelling “real-world” problem in their own lives, conduct relevant research, and produce the necessary text to address the issue. The REAL project was designed specifically to make the research and writing process consequential, iterative, and collaborative. We will share our analysis of these projects, which provide insight into the students’ motivations and engagement, information-seeking behaviors, and evolving understanding of the research process. Finally, we will offer instructors and librarians who teach writing and research suggestions and tips for creating meaningful, effective assignments that help students evolve into information-literate writers.

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 25th, 2:45 PM Sep 25th, 4:00 PM

Making it REAL: Teaching Information Literacy Skills through Situated Learning

Room 210

Long the primary locus for information literacy skills practice in the undergraduate classroom, the traditional research paper assignment—which asks students to formulate an argument on a topic, while integrating an often-predetermined number of sources both supporting and opposing their own position—has increasingly come under fire, with scholars and instructors criticizing its artificiality as a genre, its decontextualized mode of production, its inability to engage students in meaningful inquiry, and its tendency to separate writing and research into completely distinct activities. To gain further insight into the intersections and interferences of students’ research behaviors and research assignments, the researchers studied an undergraduate composition course featuring two parallel research assignments: the traditional research essay and a REAL (Rhetorical Exigence and Active Learning) project, in which students worked collaboratively to identify a compelling “real-world” problem in their own lives, conduct relevant research, and produce the necessary text to address the issue. The REAL project was designed specifically to make the research and writing process consequential, iterative, and collaborative. The researchers analyzed students’ process journals for both assignments and conducted a focus group at the end of the course to determine how students responded to these distinct research projects. We will share our analysis of this data, which provides insight into the students’ motivations and engagement, information-seeking behaviors, and evolving understanding of the research process. Finally, we will offer instructors and librarians who teach writing and research suggestions and tips for creating meaningful, effective assignments that help students evolve into information-literate writers.