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Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Framework Focus: Exploration

Framework Focus: Exploration

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

Searching as Strategic Exploration


Key sentence: The act of searching often begins with a question that directs the act of finding needed information. Encompassing inquiry, discovery, and serendipity, searching identifies both possible relevant sources as well as the means to access those sources.

Knowledge practices:

  1. determine the initial scope of the task required to meet their information needs;
  2. identify interested parties who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information;
  3. utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching;
  4. match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools;
  5. design and refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on search results;
  6. understand how information systems are organized in order to access relevant information;
  7. use different types of searching language (e.g., controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language) appropriately;
  8. manage searching processes and results effectively.

We teach:

  • Creating a research strategy (e.g. identify keywords, create a search statement, use appropriate information sources, etc.) [most courses]
  • Using controlled vocabulary (database thesauri) for searching [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Recognizing tools for acquiring resources outside of EKU collections (e.g. Library Express, reciprocal borrowing privileges) [most courses]
  • Interpreting and using citations to find additional literature [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Constructing advanced searches, including advanced search features in subject-specific databases [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Identifying various sources of help in searching (e.g. library and classroom faculty, library staff, peers, research guides, etc.) [most courses]

“Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.” Association of College and Research Libraries, 11 Jan. 2016, Accessed 21 June 2017.

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