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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Kerr, Paulette
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Paper/Section Title
Information Literacy in Academic Libraries: Conceptions and Practice
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Proceedings Title
Annual Information Literacy Symposium
Date of Meeting
November, 2011
Place of Meeting
Purdue University
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Abstract
This research was conducted to investigate the relationships between conceptions and practice of information literacy in academic libraries. To create a structure for the investigation, the research adopted the framework of Argyris and Schön(1974) in which professional practice is examined via theories of action, namely espoused theories and theories-in-use. Espoused theories were examined by investigating understandings and beliefs of information literacy and learning as seen in a range of policy documents including mission and goal statements of eleven academic libraries as well as those of their parent universities. These libraries were recognized by the academic library community for exemplary instruction resources. Theories-in-use were identified by analyzing information literacy practice via online tutorials utilized by these libraries in instruction initiatives. These documents and representations of practice were augmented by semi-structured interviews conducted with practitioners of information literacy education in these libraries. A constant comparison approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was used to develop broad themes, subcategories and statements of claims from these multiple data sources. Meta-claims developed provided rich descriptions towards a comprehensive, holistic picture of information literacy education. The research findings establish that information literacy education in the selected academic libraries is multi-dimensional, complex, and contradictory. The analysis revealed 1) explicit espoused theories of information literacy which coalesce around themes of knowledge creation and lifelong learning; 2) varied, less explicit and sometimes conflicting theories-in-use which emphasize engagement with information sources; 3) ad hoc levels of congruence in the relationships between espoused theories and theories-in-use as indicated by the few successful attempts to realize goals and outcomes in instruction initiatives; 4) major contradictions and incongruence in the relationships between the espoused theories and theories-in-use as indicated by significant gaps in addressing goals and missions; 5) enablers and barriers to achieving effective practice; 6) emergent trends in information literacy practice. Implications for practice include issues of pedagogy and instruction design towards consistency and congruence. The study suggests areas for future research. The research process is presented as a model and tool for evaluating varied dimensions of information literacy practice including multiple online resources and classroom initiatives....
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