‘Information Literacy and Society’ project well under way

Earlier this year, Bruce RyanMarina Milosheva, and Peter Cruickshank started on a literature review project to understand the impacts of information literacy (IL) on society

In this project, Bruce, Marina and Peter are investigating three main research questions:.

  1. What is the core research that investigates the role IL plays for different user groups in society? 
  2. According to this core research, what are the barriers to and enablers of shaping information literate populations?
  3. What research methodologies in this core research are most effective at delivering impact/social change, and why?

Firstly, database searches led to 4627 items. These were then classified using the CILIP definition of information literacy. (Some items did not fit into any of these categories. Others fitted into more than one category.)

‘CILIP class’MeaningNumber of items
Everyday lifedifferent groups in society, e.g. communities or generational groups + public libraries + lifelong learning. Also used as a ‘catch-all’ for items that clearly covered IL but did not even hint at any social group or ‘CILIP classification’356
Citizenshipusual citizenship themes 118
EducationMOOCs, flipped classrooms, assessment tools, students’ perceptions and skills, academic libraries, faculty-librarian collaborations, graduate employability2825
Workplacedifferent professions’ IL skills296
Healthhealth & well-being (including lifestyle papers on e.g. diet management, pregnancy)378
NoneItems that did not fit into the above ‘CILIP classifications’1131

The ‘education’ results were then sub-classified into ‘tertiary’ (1993 items), ‘secondary’ (127 items), ‘primary’ (55 items) and ‘not specified/more than one subclass’ (650 items). Hence one of the immediate findings is that IL research focuses especially on secondary education. So it is likely that IL research has most impact on society via education/training of professionals such as teachers and medical practitioners.

Shortlists for each class and subclass have been created, and each shortlist item has been assessed for significance, quality and rigour, using the method from the information literacy impact framework (ILIF) project. 

Lessons from the top-scoring items in each class and subclass are currently being gathered, and will be reported to MILA around the end of September. BruceMarina and Peter will then look forward to publishing the findings. Meanwhile, anyone attending ECIL2023 should look out for Marina’s ILIF presentation!

BruceMarina and Peter are very grateful to the Media and information Literacy Alliance for commissioning the project, and to CILIP for funding it.

(beaver image by Andrew Patrick, via Pixels)

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