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Wednesday, July 15, 2020


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Claire Ellis

Claire Ellis
Are UK universities committed to information literacy?

Information literacy is defined by the Chartered Institute of Librarians and Information Professionals as: “Knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner.”

Literature suggests that American higher education institutions are increasingly committed to ensuring that students become information literate partly due to the presence of a single framework which has been nationally accredited. Within the UK there are several models and frameworks which exist, with studies indicating that no single one is being employed by universities over another.

The purpose of this research is to ascertain how committed UK universities are to information literacy. There are many studies which have focussed on for example: the individual institutions, the separate elements of information literacy and the information literacy skills of students. Whereas this research will be investigating the UK university sector as a whole, as I intend to bring the results of the research I have conducted together to provide an overarching picture of the approach that universities within the UK are taking regarding information literacy and the effects of this on their students.

To date three independent studies have been completed with a view to answering this question. Firstly, a content analysis of every UK University’s website was conducted, which will allow me to understand how information literacy is being promoted by individual institutions. Secondly, a questionnaire was distributed to all subject and liaison librarians in order to collect more specific data relating to their training and education, as well as models, policies, strategic plans, assessment and programmes offered through their university. In addition to this, the opinions of the librarians’ were sought regarding student capabilities, the effect of their university’s programme, who the responsibility of information literacy should lie with and how important they consider information literacy to be within the context of both their university and library service. Finally, a survey was sent to master students at MMU asking them to rate their information literacy abilities, to provide a definition of what they perceive information literacy to be, to provide information about their previous university and what interventions they received from the library service and what they have received from MMU to date.


Research Degree: PhD, Part-time
Department: Information and Communications