What Students Tell Us About Doing Research: Information Literacy Assessment as Pedagogy
39 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 5 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 5, 2009
Ongoing ethnographic research by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, initiated to uncover students’ judgments about the success of information literacy instruction in particular courses, consistently elicits remarks that go beyond library services and collections. Comments made in end-of-semester interviews with classes reveal the ways in which research assignments are mysterious to many students, despite the assumptions of instructors and librarians who try to assist them. The learner-centered narratives voiced in the “retro” interviews give richer insights into our students’ perplexities and strategies than we have been able to capture through more structured evaluation and assessment instruments. Our students have proven remarkably forthcoming regarding the clarity of assignment instructions, sequencing and schedule of course work, and relation of a course to previous courses. Since 2002 library and political science faculty have used the students’ observations not only to revise specifically library components of assignments. More significantly, they have taken them into account to rethink how they represent research projects and arrange and integrate their interventions with students over the semester.
Keywords: assessment, information literacy, collaboration,
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