Information Literacy and Library Research Assignments at Oakton
an academic library that supports the mission of the College, we are particularly
proud of the rich and varied resources available in both print and electronic
resources. The Library can enhance and support the classroom experience
and provide students with many opportunities for extending their reach
and expanding their information universe.
Well designed research assignments that support the goals and objectives
of an assignment are an effective way to introduce students to the instructional
and support services of an academic library. In addition, effective assignments
can promote critical thinking skills, offer students the opportunity to
reap the rewards of information literacy and prevent plagiarism and cyber-plagiarism.
Library's instructional services focuses on teaching and reinforcing a
set of critical thinking skills involving the use of information especially
as it pertains to the resources available in the Oakton Library and on
the Library's web site.
is information literacy?
Information literacy is the ability to recognize a need for information
and then locate, evaluate and effectively use information from a variety
of sources and formats to satisfy the need. Information
literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning and is common to all disciplines,
to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. Information
literacy enables learners to master content and extend their investigations,
become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.
literate student has acquired the skills to begin to successfully
navigatate the incredible, and oftentimes overwhelming, amount of information
available in print and electronic formats. See Why
Information Literacy? that was featured in the August 2001 issue of
the NEA Advocate.
can the Oakton Library help with research assignments?
the Oakton Library complements the research needs and interests of a wide
and diverse audience, we support
information literacy and the educational mission of the College in several
ways through the following suite of instructional services.
Library faculty are available to give general instruction in the use of
the Library, answer reference questions, and help locate materials for
research. E-mail reference services offers brief answers to questions
and provides tips on jump-starting research projects.
Students can learn how to best use the Library by scheduling a research
consultation with a library faculty member. During these one-on-one sessions,
strategies are suggested for finding, evaluating, and using information
in both traditional and electronic formats. A consultation can be completed
in 30-45 minutes.
The Library faculty offer workshops throughout the year that promote
critical thinking skills and cover a variety of topics. Go Digital!
workshops focus on web and electronic research and are open to the campus
community. Classroom faculty can schedule and collaborate on customized
workshops that complement specific class-based assignments. In addition,
we can create research guides tailored to your class and suggest materials
for reading lists.
This research guide is available on the Library's website and provides
online instruction in the appropriate use of web and library resources.
It includes a variety of links that support and complement class assignments,
and also provides techniques on effective research strategies.
Research in the Information Age (NEW! Fall 2004)
This 2 credit course aims to acquaint students with the basics of
information literacy including finding, evaluating and using information
in print and electronic formats. Students will learn about the flow of
information in a variety of disciplines and strategies and techniques
for accessing information in electronic databases and via the Internet.
Instruction will also focus on the practical, social and ethical issues
relating to information including those specifically relating to copyright
The Research Paper Across the Curriculum
Critical thinking and encouraging
the development of information literacy skills should be the cornerstones
of any research assignment. Although the research paper has been the most
commonly used method of evaluation, it also can be the most intimidating
for students with little or no experience in using an academic library
and in the reseach process. When students are faced with an assignment
that is confusing and or beyond their skill level, plagiarism and the
online counterpart commonly called cyber-plagiarism are often solutions.
you will find journal articles and websites that address best practices
for teaching the research paper or an alternative assignment to the research
paper. These best practices include creating effective assignments, alternatives
to the research paper and
solutions and strategies for preventing plagiarism and cyberplagiarism.
Most of these alternatives are designed with a critical thinking component
and integrate some of the higher level thinking skills outlined in Bloom's
Taxonomy created by educator
Benjamin Bloom in 1956. These skills include the ability to analyze, synthesize
and evaluate and are the foundation of the information literacy initiatives
promoted by the American Library Association
and the Association
of College & Research Libraries.
these alternatives and suggestions when designing research assignments.
Collaborate with a librarian in developing assignments for your students.
Schedule a research workshop for your class!
Effective Library Assignments
Library research assignments can help students integrate higher level
thinking skills including the
ability to analyze, synthesize and evaluate
An Effective Library Research Assignment
website from the Library, College of DuPage
Assignments that Contain Writing and Research
website from the Library, University of Maryland
Brain-based Strategies into Library Research Assignments
article from Academic Exchange Quarterly, Winter 2002
Information Literacy into the Learning Outcomes of Academic Disciplines:
A Critical 21st-Century Issue
College & Research Libraries News,
Assignments: Challenges that Students Face and How to Help
article from College Teaching, Spring 2001
the Library: What Students (and Faculty) Need to Know
article from College Teaching, Spring 2003
Process-Based Assignments: How Promoting Information Literacy Prevents
article from College & Undergraduate Libraries 2003 10 (1):39-51
(Note: Request this article through the Library's Interlibrary Loan department)
Alternatives to The Research Paper
Alternative assignments can help to minimize the risk of plagiarism, reduce
the time required for grading and provide students with opportunities
to respond creatively to something new.
to Teach Information Literacy
website from the Library, Kirtland Community College
for Library Research Assignments
from the Library, College of DuPage
website from the Library, University of California, Berkeley
Paper Alternatives: Ideas for Information-Based Assignments
website from the Library, King's College
Plagiarism and Cyberplagiarism: An Ounce
students are faced with an assignment that is confusing and or beyond
their skill level, plagiarism and/or cyber-plagiarism are often the solutions.
PLAGIARISM: How Conventional Teaching Invites Cyber-cheating
article from Change, May/June 2004
About Policing Plagiarism. Just Teach.
article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 16, 2001
to Plagiarism and Cyber-Plagiarism: Resources for Faculty
website from the Library, University of Alberta
& Cyber-Plagiarism:A Guide to Selected Resources On The Web
links to resources from
College & Research Libraries News, June 2003
Its Nature and Consequences
website from the Library, Duke University
article from Phi Delta Kappan, March 2004
"Process-Based Assignments: How Promoting Information Literacy Prevents
article from College & Undergraduate Libraries 2003 10(1):39-51.
For Further Information: Books in The Oakton
The Collaborative Imperative: Librarians
and Faculty Working Together in the Information Universe
Call Number: Z675.U5C6417 (DP)
Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking,
and Active Learning in the Classroom
Number: PE1404.B35 (DP)
Argument's Sake:A Guide to Writing Effective Arguments
Call Number: PE1431.M39 (DP)
Information Literacy: Developing Students
as Independent Learners
Number: Z674.5.U5I526 (DP)
Informed Argument:A Multidisciplinary Reader and Guide
Number: PE1417.I53 (RHC)
The Plagiarism Handbook: Strategies for
Preventing, Detecting, and Dealing with Plagiarism
Number: PN167.H37 (DP)
Promoting Active Learning: Strategies for
The College Classroom
Number: LB1027.23.M49 (DP)
Research Paper:A Guide to Library and Internet Research
Call Number: LB2369.R585 (RHC)
Teaching Information Literacy: 35 Practical
Standards-based Exercises for College Students
Call Number: ZA3075.B87 (DP)
Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in Government,
Economics, and Contemporary World Issues
Number: H61.95.S49 (DP)
Web of Deception: Misinformation on The Internet
Number: ZA4201.W43 (DP)
Web Wisdom: How To Evaluate and Create Information
Quality on The Web
Number: TK5105.888.A376 (DP)
Successful Teachers Do: 91 Research-Based Classroom Strategies for
New and Veteran Teachers
Call Number: LB1025.3.G51 (DP)
The Wired Professor: A Guide to Incorporating
the World Wide Web In College Instruction
Number: LB2331.K35 (DP &
Professor of Library Services
Oakton Community College
Des Plaines, IL 60016