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Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Framework Focus: Inquiry

Framework Focus: Inquiry

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

Research as Inquiry


Key sentence: Novice learners acquire strategic perspectives on inquiry and a greater repertoire of investigative methods. Experts see inquiry as a process focused on problems or questions in a discipline or between disciplines that are open, unresolved, and/or debated; use more advanced research methods; and explore diverse disciplinary perspectives.

Knowledge practices:

  1. formulate questions for research based on information and/or existing information gaps;
  2. determine an appropriate scope of investigation;
  3. deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones;
  4. use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry;
  5. monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses;
  6. organize information in meaningful ways;
  7. synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources;
  8. draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information.

We teach:

  • Defining the information need and developing a manageable focus appropriate to criteria of assignment/discipline [most courses]
  • Brainstorming keywords and information gathering strategies [most courses]
  • Developing research questions [most courses
  • Articulating research questions within confines/context of discipline [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Conducting background research, selecting appropriate databases, and adjusting topic and approaches as needed after evaluating resources [most courses]
  • Identifying and using specialized disciplinary sources [major, capstone/graduate]
  • Identifying various sources of help (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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