Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Next blog-post journal club: 18 February on Fostering the integration of information literacy and journalism practice

Next discussion: Wednesday 18 February, 8pm GMT 

Article: Fostering the integration of information literacy and journalism practice: a long term study of journalism students (

Huge thanks to Margy MacMillan for writing this blog post and agreeing to join us in the discussion!

When I first received the invitation to the Journal Club, I had to read it a few times to make sure I wasn`t hallucinating (in my defence, it was 5 a.m. my time). I am so honoured to be part of this as I have enjoyed lurking or catching up on discussions after the fact and find them fascinating. I’m really looking forward to this! Thanks to those who set up these events, and also to previous authors for providing excellent model blog posts.

The article in question is Fostering the integration of information literacy and journalism practice: a long term study of journalism students (, based on a project that ran from 2003-2013. The project has used a simple résumé format that asks students to annually reflect on and record their experience with information. In the first half of that study I looked at what students decided to include in their information skills, and how they described what they knew or could do. In reviewing data from 2008-2013 for similar data, I saw a more interesting story in how they were blending their information skills and knowledge into their journalism work. Many students went beyond listing resources they used to articulating how they used them, providing a window into the transfer of knowledge between their personal, academic and professional domains.

Because it isn't research unless there
are at least 4 colours of highlighter...
Students used information skills and knowledge for a number of journalistic processes: finding story ideas, identifying sources to interview, fact-checking, and reviewing the work of others to use as models, or identify gaps in coverage. Intriguingly, they included personal traits among their information skills such as curiosity and persistence – equally useful in journalism and IL. Comments throughout the résumés included many indications of knowledge transfer from one information task or ecosystem to another, and some students were explicit about this, perhaps exhibiting metaliteracy.

While I was writing the article, the ACRL was developing a new Framework for Information Literacy, informed by Hofer, Townsend and Brunetti’s work on threshold concepts. I had seen their early work and was really intrigued by this approach. Many Twitter discussions of the Framework centred around assessment and it occurred to me that the longer term, qualitative data I had might provide evidence of threshold crossing. I think it does… and I’m REALLY interested to hear what YOU think. Where I see the data being useful is in providing examples of how students describe threshold knowledge. They might not come right out and say “Authority is Constructed and Contextual”, but when they talk about finding new voices to add to a story, or bringing conflicting expert opinions together, or understanding biases in information I think they’re talking about this concept.

I don’t want to anticipate or pre-direct where the discussion will go – but here are some things that I’ve been thinking about since I hit the send button on the final copy of the article…

How much of a role did the discipline play in knowledge transfer? I was very interested to read the last discussion of Michelle Dalton’s work on healthcare professionals, and wonder what integration looks like in practical and academic work across disciplines. What does it look like for you?

What can we do in our teaching to promote this integration? – or is it just a factor of time and practice?

If this kind of evidence hints at threshold concepts, are there ways of developing assessment that will capture students’ understanding. (My mind went to the trailcams we use here for wildlife – if only we could do something similar to capture threshold crossing)…

What questions do you have about the study?

How does this discussion work? Anyone can join this discussion!  Participants aim to read at least some of the article in advance, then come along at 8pm GMT and join in the discussion by adding comments to this blog post. You can see how this works by looking at previous discussions (just scroll down the blog for previous posts). 

Monday, January 12, 2015

#ILread in 2015: have your say

We're starting the new year with good intentions and we've asked three of our regular contributors to try and inspire you to take part in the Information Literacy Journal Club this year by explaining why they got involved and what they'd like to see discussed this year.

We'll be posting the schedule for the next three discussions at the end of January, but please do add a comment below if there's any particular article or book you'd like to be discussed.

Niamh Tumelty


What is your involvement or interest in the infolit journal club?


I was a teacher before becoming a librarian and chose to focus on information literacy for my Masters thesis.  I was conscious of the gap between research and practice in librarianship so wanted to find a way to keep in touch with current research while working full-time.  I put out the idea of a blog-based discussion group and was delighted at the enthusiastic response to this idea!

What articles or books are on your personal reading list for 2015?


I'm currently reading and learning a huge amount from Fosmire, M., editor, & Radcliffe, D. F., editor. (2014) Integrating information into the engineering design process.   My current role is managing library and information services for an Engineering Department so I think I'll be reading this book from start to finish and then going back to key bits over the course of the year.

What would you most like to see discussed as part of the info lit journal club in 2015?


One of the things I really like about this discussion group is the diversity of topics covered.  Some topics that would be particularly interesting for me include:
  • Preparing students so they can apply information skills to their work after graduation
  • Support and training for postdoctoral researchers
  • Developing teaching skills among librarians

Jane Secker


What is your involvement or interest in the infolit journal club?


As the Editor of the Journal of Information Literacy, I'm keen to encourage the articles that we publish be read and discussed widely by researchers and practitioners. The articles are meant to push the boundaries of research in the field and to stimulate new research and improved practice. I've taken part in several of the information literacy journal club discussions and really enjoyed them. I find that discussions are  a great way to discipline yourself to read the literature and to really engage with an article. As a history student I actually really enjoyed seminars, so these online discussions are an opportunity to meet virtually with those interested in information literacy.

What articles or books are on your personal reading list for 2015?


I've always got a fairly long list of things I want to read, but in the IL field I am looking forward to reading Drew Whitworth's latest book on Radical Information Literacy. At the moment, I'm desperately trying to finish reading Thinking Fast and Slow, by the economist Daniel Kahneman and have a book called Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less by Gary McKeown lined up to read after that.

What would you most like to see discussed as part of the info lit journal club in 2015?


I'd really like to schedule another discussion about the ACRL standards when the revised final draft come out later in 2015. I'd also like to widen our discussions to include some authors from outside the UK to get a more international perspective on information literacy. And it would be great if we could have a discussion about IL in schools to tie in with the special section we had in the December 2014 issue of JIL.

Helen Blanchett


What is your involvement or interest in the infolit journal club?

I got involved in the IL journal club after being asked to write a post for the a discussion on TeachMeets and I'm now involved as a regular contributer. I always have good intentions to read more research and this provides the motivation to do this, along with encouraging me to think more deeply about what I'm reading in order to take part in the discussion.

What articles or books are on your personal reading list for 2015?

At the moment my reading is being driven by my studies for a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, with the current module being related to design of teaching and learning. I'm particularly focussing on threshold concepts so Ray Land and Jan Meyer feature prominently in my reading list, with their books "Overcoming barriers to student understanding : threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge" and "Threshold concepts within the disciplines"[PDF].

What would you most like to see discussed as part of the info lit journal club in 2015?


Like Jane, I'd like to see another discussion on the ACRL standards, perhaps looking more broadly at the idea of thresholds concepts. I have a keen interest in workplace information literacy, so that would be high on my list too. I'm always interested in any aspect of teaching information literacy, but at the moment the idea of students as co-creators of IL teaching & learning resources fits with a project I'm due to start soon.

Sheila Webber


What is your involvement or interest in the infolit journal club?

When Niamh floated the idea of an online information literacy journal club, I volunteered to help facilitate it. Marshall Dozier and I have run a monthly infolit journal club n the virtual world, Second Life, for several years and I’ve found it enjoyable and useful. It means I read articles I might not have done, and it’s interesting hearing different perspectives. However, not everyone wants to use Second Life, and so I liked the idea of participating via another channel as well. I’ve led several of the discussions on this blog: I particularly enjoyed this one, on a paper by Barbara Fister:

What articles or books are on your personal reading list for 2015?

I’ve looked at some of the chapters in the book edited by Christine Bruce and her colleagues on Information experience (and their webcast provides a good introduction ), but this year I want to work through it more carefully. I also want to read Ference Marton’s latest book, Necessary conditions of learning. Marton is the ‘godfather’ of phenomenography (the research approach for investigating variation in conceptions or experience of a phenomenon) and variation theory (an approach to teaching and learning, which maintains that (to quote the book blurb) “in order to learn we have to discern, and to discern the intended ideas we must be presented with carefully structured variation”). His ideas have been very important for my research, but also have influenced my teaching practice. Finally, I discover new reading through my students, and last week Jess Elmore shared an article with me on information literacy and identity which sounds fascinating.

Caidi, N. and Allard, D. (2005). Social inclusion of newcomers to Canada: An information problem? Library & Information Science Research, 27 (3), 302-324.

Bruce, C., Patridge, H., Davis, K., Hughes, H. and Stoodley, I. (Eds.) (2014). Information experience: approaches to theory and practice. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN: 9781783508150

Marton, F. (2014). Necessary conditions of learning. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415739146.

What would you most like to see discussed as part of the info lit journal club in 2015?

Like Jane, I’d like to revisit the ACRL information literacy framework, which seems to have hit heavier opposition just as it was about to get to the final stage! I’m interested in MOOCs and information literacy and MOOC pedagogy at the moment, so something on that would be good. I would also like to see discussion of articles of information literacy from different cultures and countries.

That's what some existing contributers would like to see discussed - what would you like? Please add a comment with your suggestions below.