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INFORMATION LITERACY: HOME

“Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." - Association for College and Research Libraries.

“Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." - Association for College and Research Libraries.

We are living in an information revolution, where we have an abundance of digitally published information available to us.

With self-publishing and private interests proliferating the information continuum it is more imperative than ever that you be savvy in your quest for research: know where to start, how to evaluate credible sources, compile your supported information to build a strong paper, and develop lifelong knowledge building skills that are based on sound evaluation and retrieval.

Photo credit: Lori A. Snyder, Kendall College

BUILDING CONTENT

TERMINOLOGY TO PROCESS:

A primary source is someone with direct experiential knowledge of a situation, a document, or craft. A personal interview is a good example of a primary source for research. Primary sources can also include you gathering evidence from a live video recording of a happening, speeches, reading a literary work, personal artifacts such as diaries or letters, data from research, and audio recordings.

QUESTIONS to ask yourself for credibility:

  • What do I hope to discover and share?
  • Where will I find a participant to interview?
  • What viewpoints do I hold on the topic that may obstruct balanced questions?

A secondary source is a document, recording which relates or discusses information provided elsewhere, and often is a critical or contrast view to a primary source’s original information. Peer-reviewed articles are a good example of a secondary source.

QUESTIONS to ask yourself for credibility:

  • Who is the author, and do they have special paid interests?
  • Is the information an opinion, or is it based on researched scientific facts?
  • Is the source trying to sell you a product?
  • When was the published date of the article? Is this still current and relative?
  • What sources did the author use and cite? Are these useful to me as well?


A tertiary source is a textual consolidation of primary and secondary sources. A dictionary, textbooks, Encyclopedic works, and databases like EBSCO are good examples of tertiary sources as they contain purely factual consolidated information that does not contain analysis or critique as a whole.

QUESTIONS to ask yourself for credibility:

  • Has the information been modified by a credential user?
  • Is the source peer-reviewed? How often is it updated?
  • Is an author’s name identified?


How do I know which source to use for my paper? A well written paper might include primary research, along with a secondary and tertiary source of information.