Functional – Generic – Objective

Remember, these pages are deliberately brief and intended mainly as quick references. The Prezicasts give more detail.

Prezicast: Follow this link to see the online version of the Prezicast on Objective Values. Remember that the offline version is in the course Dropbox. If you want advice on how to use and view the Prezicasts, see the full listing.

Way of valuing information: Objective, through the principles of scientific method. (The Wikipedia page on scientific method provides a useful introduction should you wish one.)

View of science (see Fay, 1975): Positivist. Information is sought in order that processes can be fully understood, and environments then engineered to produce specific outcomes. Cognitive authority is asserted through conformity to established principles of scientific method (though this is not to say these principles cannot be challenged, e.g. through the development of new methodologies).

Scientist in his laboratory
On this side of the triad, information becomes valued because it has been verified by processes of scientific enquiry.

Practice: Generic. These principles are intended to be universal.

Level: The macro-level, the broad structures of society.

Structures of support: The scientific establishment, principles of good practice such as peer review, maintaining a stable publications record, clear and justifiable methodologies, openness, etc.

Form of literacy (Egan 1990): Conventional.

Keyword: Conforming.

Frames of information literacy (Bruce, Lupton and Edwards 2006): Content and competency frames. These are the functional, generic aspects of information literacy; correct practices to which students should conform. A piece of work can be seen as valuable because it is properly published (with author, year of publication, etc.), verified in some way (peer review), stable, etc. Good IL practice consists in being able to apply these generic rules to the finding of good-quality information, and doing so effectively.

Pathology if omitted: Counterknowledge – see Thompson’s book of the same name (2008; one chapter is on the main reading list). Thompson observes that some structures of knowledge are widely believed by large numbers of people, and have entire genres of the publishing or other industries devoted to them, yet have no basis in scientific principles whatsoever. Examples include creationism, homeopathy, astrology, and pseudohistory (e.g. the belief that advanced civilisations existed before the last Ice Age).

Return to the triadic model introduction page

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Media and Information Literacy by Andrew Whitworth/University of Manchester is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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