I think I have a topic…

For a long time, I have been very interested in information literacy assessment. My official title at work is “Reference and Information Literacy Librarian” (although sometimes I’m referred to an “Instruction Librarian”, so don’t get me started on how those are not interchangeable…). One thing I feel my institution- and many other institutions- lack is an accurate system for assessment. How do we know we are helping students develop information literacy? Are we helping them? If not, how can we?

Well, to assess information literacy, you need standards. The ACRL came out with standards in the year 2000, but they’ve recently (like so recent they’re still working on them) been updated. Now they are called a “Framework”.

As I’ve looked into some of the literature, I was very impressed by the work of Megan Oakleaf. In her 2006 dissertation, she used rubrics to assess information literacy. Since then, she developed RAILS. I’ve been impressed with these things and wondering how I could incorporate some of these concepts into my research. I felt like since she had done the landmark assessment/rubric study I was stuck. But then I realized (thanks to a discussion in my writing class) that I didn’t have to do that exact study. I can use her study as inspiration and perform a similar one here using rubrics. Most importantly, I can do it using the new Framework.

I’m very excited and trying to decide what to do next. I’m thinking I will set a goal of having a chapter 1 (Introduction) done for this class, and go from there. I realize the research may alter the topic, and I’m open to it. But at least now I have a direction.


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