Teaching Research Literacy

At Grinnell College Libraries, we believe the term "research literacy" best defines our work of helping students learn the skills and concepts underlying successful academic inquiry.  To this end, we draw from a multifaceted base in our research literacy work:

From the Grinnell College Mission Statement:

"The College aims to graduate women and men who can think clearly, who can speak and write persuasively and even eloquently, who can evaluate critically both their own and others' ideas, who can acquire new knowledge, and who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good."

From the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education

Grinnell’s librarians, faculty members and research tutors can help students consider and learn the following principles of academic research:

  1. Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  2. Information Creation as a Process
  3. Information Has Value
  4. Research as Inquiry
  5. Scholarship as Conversation
  6. Searching as Strategic Exploration

And our own Statement on Research Literacy:

Research literacy is a set of interdisciplinary, transferable competencies that help individuals determine and diminish knowledge gaps. To be research literate is to know methods of inquiry, to possess effective research skills, to navigate all formats of publication fluently, to recognize one's personal limitations and how to overcome them, to know where to start, to discern when to consult a librarian or other expert for assistance, and to communicate ideas effectively. It includes the ability to articulate a research information need, to construct complex search statements, to assess the relevance and authority of found documents, and to be capable of synthesizing existing content in order to explore the parameters of her or his research question. Research literacy is the sum of the attributes required of lifelong learners.

The Librarians of Grinnell College seek to develop research literacy skills in concert with discipline-based learning. Librarians consult and collaborate with classroom faculty to help integrate research literacy competencies into courses and sequence research literacy skills throughout students' academic careers. Through this partnership, students will cultivate research literacy skills, use core resources, and search for information with increased facility, improving their performance in academic work and beyond.

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