Analyzing the Knowledge Practices of the ACRL Framework (Part VI)

For today’s post, I analyzed the final frame of the ACRL Framework, “Searching as Strategic Exploration.” Essentially, this frame encompasses the very core of information literacy — Information Technology Fluency — so should be one of the very first sets of KPs that students encounter upon entering college (and hopefully they are entering college having had at least some exposure to these KPs in high school).

While for the most part these KPs are at least semi-visible, they miss the mark in terms of describing the actual product or output of knowledge (what does the knowledge look like when put into practice?). They also tend toward individual competencies rather than knowledge practices within a community of practice (of course, that’s also how they are typically taught).

However, we must remember that in this frame in particular, there may be wider variations in practice as students enter their chosen disciplines. As written in the ACRL Framework, the KPs in “Searching as Strategic Exploration” are probably more suited to the Social Sciences and Humanities rather than the hard Sciences (and that makes sense considering that they were likely written with the Comp classroom in mind).

In my next post, I will discuss how I looked at all the ACRL Framework’s KPs through the framework of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT), and how LCT can further inform (and in my opinion, better develop) the usability of the ACRL Framework.

Searching as Strategic Exploration
Knowledge Practice IL Facet Knowing in Action Instructional Strategies
Determine the initial scope of the task required to meet their information needs; Problem Solving Develop a strategic search plan:

·         determine the initial scope of the task required to meet information needs;

·         determine the types of information most appropriate to the task;

·         identify parties who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information;

These first two KPs belong to the same category of research planning. To facilitate the development of research planning skills, use tools such as concept maps, graphic organizers, index cards (for organizing information), calendars (for time management), and collaboration tools.
Identify interested parties, such as scholars, organizations, governments, and industries, who might produce information about a topic and then determine how to access that information; Problem Solving
Utilize divergent (e.g., brainstorming) and convergent (e.g., selecting the best source) thinking when searching; Ways of Thinking; Problem Solving Demonstrate divergent and convergent thinking by justifying why a particular source(s) effectively solves the information problem. In order to assess this KP, it is essential that thinking be made visible, whether through think alouds, annotated bibliographies, presentations, narrated screencasts, etc…
Match information needs and search strategies to appropriate search tools; Information Technology Fluency; Problem Solving This should be part of the strategic planning process (see first two KPs above). See first strategy above.
Design and refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on search results; Information Technology Fluency; Ways of Thinking;

Problem Solving;

Evaluate and revise the strategic search plan as needed. See first strategy above.
Understand how information systems (i.e., collections of recorded information) are organized in order to access relevant information; Information Technology Fluency This KP should be demonstrated during the strategic planning process (it goes along with the second KP). See first strategy above.
Use different types of searching language (e.g., controlled vocabulary, keywords, natural language) appropriately; Information Technology Fluency This is knowing in action when students find appropriate sources. It can be integrated into the strategic planning process (e.g., writing down potential search strings). See first strategy above.
Manage searching processes and results effectively Information Technology Fluency This is knowing in action when students implement an effective search plan [which results in effective research output]. The strategic search plan makes this KP easy to assess. See first strategy above.

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