Presentation Title

Uncovering Information Literacy Deficiencies in Psychology Students

Type of Presentation

Poster Session (45 minutes)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

In our psychology courses we have been blind to our students’ information literacy deficiencies. We routinely assign term papers, have a librarian demonstrate how to use search engines, and discuss plagiarism. That is the extent of the training we have been giving to students in preparation for their term papers.

This semester I addressed information literacy in my course. I was shocked to find that my Introductory Psychology students could not identify what information they needed, evaluate the sources of information, incorporate the information into their knowledge base, nor use the information for their assignments. Frankly, I wonder how they have been producing term papers at all, given such extreme deficiencies.

I set about trying to teach them the basics of information literacy. Without a plan or an idea of how deficient they were, my efforts have been tentative and reactionary. I built lectures around each skill area and gave them active learning exercises to practice their skills. I expect to find that they’ve learned something of these skills and that it will be evident in their final projects.

I now believe this skill set is essential and transferable, and that teaching the skills within content courses can provide context to assist skill development. With this poster I hope to generate discussion about how we might bring this problem to other disciplinary faculty and what essential skill training we should include in topical courses.

Presentation Description

This poster presents examples of standard term-paper preparation provided in psychology courses. A course that uncovered extreme information literacy deficiencies is described, including students’ initial attempts, skill-building exercises, and final project outcomes. Discussion may focus on methods for bringing the problem to other disciplinary faculty and identifying essential skill training to include in topical general education courses.

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Sep 25th, 12:30 PM Sep 25th, 1:45 PM

Uncovering Information Literacy Deficiencies in Psychology Students

In our psychology courses we have been blind to our students’ information literacy deficiencies. We routinely assign term papers, have a librarian demonstrate how to use search engines, and discuss plagiarism. That is the extent of the training we have been giving to students in preparation for their term papers.

This semester I addressed information literacy in my course. I was shocked to find that my Introductory Psychology students could not identify what information they needed, evaluate the sources of information, incorporate the information into their knowledge base, nor use the information for their assignments. Frankly, I wonder how they have been producing term papers at all, given such extreme deficiencies.

I set about trying to teach them the basics of information literacy. Without a plan or an idea of how deficient they were, my efforts have been tentative and reactionary. I built lectures around each skill area and gave them active learning exercises to practice their skills. I expect to find that they’ve learned something of these skills and that it will be evident in their final projects.

I now believe this skill set is essential and transferable, and that teaching the skills within content courses can provide context to assist skill development. With this poster I hope to generate discussion about how we might bring this problem to other disciplinary faculty and what essential skill training we should include in topical courses.