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Research Skills Corner

Recent Research: Students’ Self-Perception of Information Literacy Needs

by Meagan Fowler, Assistant Professor/Librarian
Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio

To bring attention to the research that is being conducted in and about community college libraries, in this sponsored post the ACRL CJCLS Scholarly Research Committee would like to highlight research conducted by researchers at Florida State University and the University at Buffalo that was published this past July in College & Research Libraries.

In their article, “Community College Student’s Perceptions of Their Information Literacy Needs,” Latham et al. (2022) set out to explore community college students’ self-perception of their information literacy (IL) needs. Spurred by the paucity of existing research on community college libraries and IL, their research was guided by three research questions:

RQ1. What are the self-perceptions of students concerning their IL needs?

RQ2. Do students’ self-perceptions of their IL needs vary based on their educational and career goals?

RQ3. Do students’ self-perceptions of their IL needs vary based on the type of instruction they received (skills-based vs. threshold concepts)?

Latham et al. (2022) conducted semi-structured interviews with thirty-four students at five community colleges in Florida and New York and found that while students did value IL and understood its importance in their academic, personal, and professional lives, how they applied IL varied depending on the context of the information need (i.e., the sources that they considered acceptable for their personal work may be “good enough” for their academic work). Further information also emerged on the topic of students’ beliefs about their future careers and the applicability of IL and their perception of IL as a set of skills as opposed to threshold concepts.

You are encouraged to read the full article for a detailed review of the findings, interview questions, and implications for future research.

For further information on this research, the researchers can be contacted at: Don Latham (dlatham@fsu.edu), Melissa Gross (mgross@fsu.edu), and Heidi Julien (heidijul@buffalo.edu).

Reference

Latham, D., Gross, M., Julien, H., Warren, F., & Moses, L. (2022). Community College Students’ Perceptions of Their Information Literacy Needs. College & Research Libraries, 83(4), 593–609.

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