Contextualizing Information Literacy: Why ‘Why’ Makes All the Difference

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Graduate students require the same base knowledge of information literacy as undergraduates, but are less likely to receive in-class instruction. Rather than considering them as external, theoretical signposts or goals, this presentation will discuss the value of situating the ACRL Information Literacy Standards and Framework into the real-life graduate student experience. Explaining what it means to have membership in the academic community leads directly to a deeper understanding of scholarly dialogue, authority and peer review. This grounding leads to an understanding of ownership, copyright, and plagiarism. This high-level overview of the scholarly research process allows students to comprehend their own place in the process, and the function of various types of academic papers. The parts and styles of research papers are situated within the larger realm of scholarly publishing expectations and opportunities. Students are then able to apply these concepts to view themselves as academic creators, with all the rights, responsibilities, and expectations of working members of the academic community.

After the presentation and discussion, attendees should be able to

  • recognize the immediate increase in student engagement when the ACRL concepts are presented in real-life context and terms
  • assess the benefits of demonstrating to students where they belong in the academic cycle
  • draft a similar message to support the particular circumstances of their own students

This presentation addresses personalizing information literacy for increased real-life relevance and retention; practical advice for teaching information literacy skills of immediate use to students; and providing students with clear context concerning issues such as copyright and plagiarism.


Savannah, GA