Framework Spotlight on Scholarship: Critten’s “Ideology and Critical Self-Reflection in Information Literacy Instruction” [CIL 9.2]

Today’s Spotlight on Scholarship features the article “Ideology and Critical Self-Reflection in Information Literacy Instruction” by Jessica Critten, published in a special issue of Communications in Information Literacy focusing on the Framework: Volume 9, Issue 2, 2015, pp. 145-156.

This article proposes a way to teach “critical self-reflection,” a key component of information literacy in the Framework, through the lens of ideology. By connecting the Framework’s emphasis on critical self-reflection to Elmborg’s goal of “critical consciousness” through information literacy, Critten situates her case study in the scholarship of critical information literacy and critical pedagogy. After introducing this aspect of the Framework, the article lays the theoretical foundation of a two-credit information literacy course developed by the author around the theme of critical media literacy. Through the work of Althusser, Budd, Olson and Fox, Spivak, and others, Critten proposes ideology as a “site of critical self-reflection” essential to information literacy, where ideology encompasses not only that of the creators of the information being evaluated but also the researcher’s own perspectives and biases they bring to the research act. Through the two-credit information literacy course described in the second half of the article, Critten shares how she led students to a deeper understanding of information evaluation through engagement with the concept of ideology and its role in research and information literacy. She argues for a conceptual approach to teaching information literacy when she says, “Most of the work of getting students over the threshold to understand that research was an affective process in which they were constructing and interpreting meaning through the lens of their personal beliefs and lived experiences was conceptual” (154). While the course as described was taught before the Framework was developed, this approach to teaching the critical self-reflection required of information literacy illuminates the ways the Framework has the potential to open avenues for instructors to adopt a critical information literacy approach to library instruction.

Jessica Critten is Instructional Services Librarian in the Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia.

The “Framework Spotlight on Scholarship” column is a regular post series highlighting scholarship that uses, builds on, critiques, or responds to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.