The CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG) have set up a Research Bursaries scheme to help to fill some of those gaps and, to do so, are seeking imaginative proposals that have the potential for high impact beyond HE and librarianship. Below are some of the completed and current projects that have been supported through this scheme. Information on applying for a research bursary can be found on the ILG’s CILIP pages.
Completed projects funded by the Information Literacy Group’s research bursaries
Presentation from CILIP Conference 2015 (PDF) – Becky Cole
Learning Lending Liberty Final Report
Presentation from CILIP Conference 2016 (PDF)
– What are community councillors’ current practices in exploiting information channels for engaging citizens in democratic processes?
– What are public libraries’ roles in supporting community councillors, particularly around their acquisition of information literacy?
– What are the relationships between community councillors’ information behaviours and literacies, resources, and knowledge and experience?
Attached below are (i) the original project proposal; (ii) the full project report; and (iii) the project summary
IL-DEM project report
ILG IL-DEM website summary
This research aims to explore the information services available to ‘New Syrian Scots’* as well as their own information needs and their perceptions of the information services they consider important for their resettlement and adaptation, their habitual and adaptive information practices and the barriers and enablers they encounter within their new socio-cultural setting via their interaction with people, tools and processes. The research will be conducted via focus groups with New Syrian Scots and interviews with key SRC representatives. The outcomes of this research will help towards making recommendations on how to best aid the newcomers in their social inclusion and support their emerging information landscapes for their resettlement and adaptation. *This is a preferred way of referring to the Syrian refugees in Scotland
Current projects funded by the Information Literacy Group’s research bursaries
Information discernment and psychophysiological well-being in response to misinformed stigmatization
This collaborative project brings together experts in information literacy, user experience, applied psychology and psychophysiological stress reactivity. The team believes that, information discernment moderates the relationship between misinformation and cardiovascular reactivity in stressful social situation(s). This research has wide implications for policy makers, educationalists and governments, indicating for the first time that information literacy has a social and physical, as well as educational benefit and that it should be added to preventative measures against misinformation.
Here, psychophysiological well-being is determined using challenge and threat cardiovascular reactivity, where challenge reactivity (driven by Sympathetic AdrenoMedullary activation) indicates an adaptive reaction to stress, and threat (driven by Pituitary Adreno-Cortical activation) indicates a maladaptive reaction to stress
(Blascovich & Mendes, 2000). We will break new research ground and make a substantial contribution to the extant literature by exploring how mis-information about religious extremism may affect young peoples’ cardiovascular reactivity, and subsequent cognitive functioning. For the first time the extent to which information discernment moderates challenge and threat reactivity will also be investigated.
There are two research questions:
1: To what extent does information discernment (an essential component of information literacy) moderate the effects of mis-information (stigmatized vs. nonstigmatized) on psychophysiological reactivity?
2: To what extent does psychophysiological reactivity influence performance and interpersonal interaction in a collaborative pressurized attention task?
Crucially, this collaborative work will examine the financial sector, which is of interest to many students; the Financial and Insurance sector being in the top five of most common destination for UCL graduates for the last nine years. It will act as a pilot for wider cross-sectoral work in future. The insights of careers services will be integral to this project, enabling a new opportunity to develop a wider view of information literacy issues, which are currently strongly located within library silos. Research on workplace learning will be used to inform the project design and analysis, encouraging cross-fertilisation of ideas.
A workshop presenting the project and the tool will be targeted towards employers, careers services, candidates, librarians and academics in an attempt to develop and strengthen cross disciplinary links and contribute to the development of strategies enabling transition of information literacies from HE into employment.
Although existing research has given us insights into the information behaviour of young people, these insights generally come from only a small sample of participants and come from asking people to evaluate their own skills, rather than actually measuring them. We therefore propose that a more thorough understanding of secondary school-aged children’s information behaviour, including how they feel when performing tasks, would help to develop better teaching practice. We will ask participants (in this case a large sample of around 100 secondary school pupils from schools in Edinburgh, Scotland) to perform a number of pre-defined search tasks, for which the correct answers (relevant documents) are known. Students will use a basic search system to collect a small set of relevant documents for a chosen topic over a time-constrained period of between 15 minutes and half an hour. All interactions with the system will be recorded, yielding large volumes of precise data about the participants’ information behaviour and performance. This data will then be used to evaluate where difficulties arise and which groups are most likely to make poor decisions, leading to concrete recommendations for teaching IL.
A body of Digital Champion volunteers has been recruited, classes and computer clubs for the public are underway and staff training is ongoing. Volunteers receive a high level of support and training and Stirling Libraries and Archives recently had our respected Investing in Volunteers accreditation renewed for the next three years. Funding for IT & Me ran out in March 2017 but the post of Digital Inclusion Officer has been extended for a further three months during which the postholder will work full-time in Stirling Libraries.
In Stirling we have identified an impact on employability which we would like to investigate through action research. We would like the IT & Me Digital Inclusion Officer to extend and research work begun with unemployed and benefit claimants through DWP surgeries, CAB job clubs, CV and jobseeking workshops and advice drop-ins. We offer help with these partner-run activities hosted in libraries and critically, we offer ongoing support to the independent users thereafter. We build both digital and information literacy skills to enable jobseeking and income maximisation, identifying the hook that highlights the benefits of digital participation to each individual. This might include making savings online, navigating fuel comparison sites, finding out what benefits they are due, exploring internet safety or discovering how to evaluate the glut of information available online.
A second strand of our research would concern volunteers. Several of our volunteers have gone on to find full-time work, some after long periods of searching. Specialised training and volunteering to enhance digital participation has taken their employability to a new level and we would like to explore this further. Their circumstances and skill levels would be very different from the majority of jobseekers attending our organised activities but if they have not been in full-time work regularly for one reason or another, volunteers can still face barriers to successfully securing employment themselves. Some volunteers have experienced physical or mental health difficulties and volunteering is a first step towards employment for them.
Building on feedback from a workshop delivered to Year 12 students in March 2016, this longitudinal study will conclude in mid-2019. The research will involve Year 12 and Year 13 students attending workshops delivered by Information Specialist staff from Aston University Library Services during which they will be supported in developing their Information Literacy skills. In order to find out how this impacts the students’ approach to learning, evidence will be gathered from teachers as well as student assignment results. In addition to this data will be gathered using online surveys, focus groups and interviews to follow-up on their progress and how they feel their information literacy skills have developed from year 12 to their first year of a degree course or degree apprenticeship programme. Due to their close relationships with the pupils AUEA staff will help to recruit students to the study using their existing communication channels and relationships with students. Small incentives (vouchers) will be offered to the students for completing the survey, attending a focus group and follow-up interview. The aim of the project is to examine the impact of information literacy interventions with Year 12 and Year 13 students and how they develop their skills over the period of transition to Higher Education.