ACTIVITY: Developing an IL plan of action

Developing an information literacy plan

The aim of this activity is to help you establish your own information literacy needs at this point in time. You can then use this plan as a basis for further discussions with your supervisor or other members of teaching/library staff. Remember that being information literate is not just a solitary, subjective pastime but something developed and applied in collaboration with others, where appropriate. Also that it is an ongoing process of self-reflection. What you answer here and now would most likely no longer apply if you were to repeat this task in a year’s time.

It may therefore help to return to this exercise at key points in your research and repeat the exercise to help both you and your supervisor make the most of information.

Remember, there are no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ answers to this. The answers are completely unique to you. If you want to answer a question in your own way, then do so. Give as much or as little detail as you like.

Students at Manchester should note that it is through answering these questions, and thus completion of this activity, that they can indicate on eProg that they have undertaken their work on this Media & IL resource. A form is available on which the answers to these questions can be placed, and this form can be used in subsequent discussions with your supervisor.

What stage in the research process have you reached?

What have you been reading recently, and how has it influenced your thinking about your research?

What are the main tasks you now have to complete?

What information do you need to complete these tasks?

Can you find that information through a literature or library search, or do you need to gather primary data (through designing a survey, questionnaire, experiment etc.)?

For those information needs which can be met by literature or library search, go on to answer the remaining questions:

What do you hope to find? [This question, though it might seem trivial, is a useful one to answer. It can help show you your initial assumptions. Remember from topic 4 that we are inclined to accept information which seems to affirm that our prior beliefs are correct, and reject that which challenges us. This question can help lift your prior assumptions into conscious awareness and make it less difficult to criticise them if need be.]

What will be the best places to go and find this information?
The following are suggestions, but may not be a comprehensive list:

  • Journal articles
  • Published books
  • Web sites
  • Newspapers, magazines or TV
  • Specialist organisations
  • Archives and/or museums
  • Governmental organisations and publications
  • Digital images

Try to identify up to four key words which will help you find relevant information in this search:

Are any of these criteria also applicable?
a) Date range – are you only interested in information pertinent to, or published within, a specific range of dates?
b) Location of publication – does the information have to originate from a particular country, region, organisation, professional body, etc.?
c) Language – are you only interested in information in English, or might publications in other languages also help?

How will you judge the credibility and validity of found information?

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