Credo Embarks on New Information Literacy Research Project with Leading Instructional Librarian

Boston, MA and Champaign, IL – Credo announced a new partnership with Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Professor and Coordinator for Information Literacy Services and Instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to identify predictable misunderstandings first-year students have with regard to information literacy (IL).

Anticipation of misunderstandings is a foundational principle of many pedagogical theories; however, there is not a research base with respect to information literacy. This study begins to fill that gap. Using data from Credo’s research skills survey of hundreds of students and faculty members in 2016, Hinchliffe and her team will systematically investigate student misconceptions around information literacy.

An inventory of misconceptions developed from analysis of the Credo survey will provide a foundation for exploration through focus groups of librarians who work with first year college students. Through these groups, the misconception inventory will be refined and validated. These focus groups will reflect upon and discuss topics including which erroneous beliefs learners typically harbor about information literacy, and what “rough spots” emerge in instructional settings.

The 2016 Credo survey found, for example, that less than half of students reported conducting background research to familiarize themselves with their topic. 19% of first year students didn’t use any databases to conduct research. When students did search for background information, they prioritized convenience and ease-of-use over seeking materials that were scholarly or trustworthy.

“The current research tells us that students of all ages struggle with basic information literacy competencies like selecting an appropriate research topic and evaluating sources for bias,” said Ian Singer, Credo’s General Manager. “Furthermore, college librarians only get so many chances to reach students through instruction, so making the most of those opportunities by anticipating problem areas is crucial to maximizing student success.”

Advisory board members have been assembled from colleges and universities across the country to bring a wide range of experiences from positions such as librarians, professors, and university administrators. Hinchliffe and Illinois library science graduate students Allison Rand and Jillian Collier will be advised by:

  • Raymond Pun, First Year Experience Librarian at Fresno State
  • Lori DuBois, Reference and Instruction Librarian at Williams College
  • April Sheppard, Assistant Director of Public Services at Arkansas State University
  • Brian Gray, Research Services Team Leader at Case Western Reserve University
  • Lauren Kosrow, Reference Librarian at Triton College
  • April Cunningham, Instruction/Information Literacy Librarian at Palomar College
  • Leslie Warren, Dean of Academic Information Services at Northern Michigan University.

Learn more about this research by attending Hinchliffe and Singer’s session, titled Librarian Perceptions of Information Literacy Misconceptions by First-Year College Students, at the Illinois Library Association conference, October 12th at 11:00am, or by registering for a live webinar scheduled for November 14th at 2:00pm entitled Predictable Misunderstandings in Information Literacy: Anticipating Student Misconceptions To Improve Instruction. Please contact Hinchliffe (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to express interest in participating in the focus groups or to inquire about the research project.