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Introducing Students to Information Literacy


Please note the information contained in this guide is meant to help supplement a class, assignment, or curriculum. Please use the embed links or copy and paste the information into your course guide or site.

Creation of information and products derived from information requires a commitment of time, original thought, and resources that need to be respected by those seeking to use these products, or create their own based on the work of others. In addition, information may be valued more or less highly based on its creator, its audience/consumer, or its message.

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Learning goals

  • Give credit to the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation.
  • Recognize the meaning of intellectual property in the United States.
  • Understand that intellectual property is a social construct that varies by culture.
  • Articulate the purpose and distinguishing characteristics of copyright, open access, and public domain.
  • Know how to find open access materials.
  • Differentiate between the production of original information and remixing or repurposing open resources.
  • Manage their online presences responsibly.
  • Decide where their information, as knowledge creator, should be published.

Related guides and tutorials

Greenlease Library Research Guides 


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Interactive tutorials


  • Provide students with a list of citations and ask them to identify the types of sources represented by the citations (books, chapters, periodical articles, etc).
  • "Read the References:" ask the students to select a research article and read the articles cited by it. The students are instructed to:
    • explain how each article is related to the original article;
    • consider under what circumstances it is appropriate to cite other papers;
    • differentiate what different purposes the citations serve
  • Have students track down resources used by other students in their bibliographies. Have students “grade” each other’s works cited page for correct style and completeness of citations (as well as appropriateness of sources cited).
  • Exercise: Authorship, rights of authors, and responsible use of others' work
    The following questions can be discussed in small groups with a summary to follow):
    • (Modified from Burkhardt, J.M., MacDonald, Mary C. (2010). Teaching information literacy: 50 standard-based exercises for college students. Chicago: ALA).
    • Why is it important to cite sources when writing or doing other kind of research?
    • In the same scenario suppose your roommate took your ideas, changed the language just a little, and still won the money. Now how would you feel?
    • In the scenario above suppose your roommate took only one paragraph of your essay and still won the money and the TV experience. Would you feel any differently?
    • Suppose your college/program had an essay contest and you won it. You received a certificate and a handshake form the dean of your college. Then you find out that your roommate sent your essay to a magazine essay context with his or her name instead of yours. Your roommate won $5,00 and a spot on a popular TV show. How do you feel about what happened? What can you do about what your roommate did?
    • Are you an author? Name some of the things you have created.
    • What or who is the author? What does it mean to create something?


Quizzes and tests to assess understanding of concepts related to citing sources

Assessment questions

  • Check understanding of concepts related to citing sources

You need to cite your sources for the following reason:

a. You will get an extra credit for this.
b. You will be able to find the sources you cited.
c. You don’t want to be charged with plagiarism.
d. You want to document the sources you used.
e. a, b & c
f.  b, c & d

Suppose you are writing a paper and you read an article on your topic that you want to include in your paper. In which of the following scenarios would you cite the article? *** (choose all that apply)

a. when you copy a whole paragraph from the article
b. when you write it over in your own words
c. when you quote one sentence from the article
d. when you use one or more sources listed in the bibliography at the end of the article

Plagiarism is

a. failing to use the correct format when citing your sources
b. using the idea of another person in your work instead of using only your own ideas
c. improperly interpreting the authors in your source
d. including the ideas of another person in your writing and failing to cite them properly

(from Shelton, D., Graham-Webb, D., Pierce, S. T., Moore, D., & Aaron, L. (2005). Student information literacy survey).

  • Check how students understand and interpret citations

Decide whether each citation is from a popular or scholarly source. (Choose one answer for each section.)**

A.    Harrison, Kristen and Joanne Cantor. “The Relationship between media consumption and eating disorders.” Journal of Communication. 47 (Spring 1997) 40-67.

popular source
scholarly source

B.    Jamison, Dirk. “Tao of the dumpster: My Father's love affair with trash.” Utne Reader, November 1996, 76-79.

popular source
scholarly source

C.    Marguilies, Herbert F. “The Moderates in the League of Nations Battle: An Overlooked faction.” The Historian. 60 (Winter 1998) 273-288.

popular source
scholarly source

What type of source is this?
Katz, Marco. "Salsa Criticism at the Turn of the Century: Identity Politics and Authenticity." Popular Music and Society 28 (2005): 35-54. (choose one)***

a. it is a book
b. it is a journal article
c. it is a newspaper article
d. it is a chapter from a book

For each of the following 3 citations which answer is correct? ** (Choose an answer for each section.)

A.  Kors, Alan Charles "Morality on today's college campuses: The assault upon liberty and dignity." Vital Speeches of the Day. 64(20): 633-637. 1998. Aug 1.
a. article title: Morality on today's college campuses
b. article title: Vital Speeches of the Day

B.  The New York Times, January 31, 1999, Sunday, Late Edition - Final, Section 1; Page 12; Column 6; National Desk, 745 words, Two Protests By Students Over Wages For Workers, By Steven Greenhouse.
a. periodical title: The New York Times
b. periodical title: Two Protests by Students Over Wages For Workers

C.  Watson, Jinx Stapleton "If you don't have it, you can't find it." A close look at students' perceptions of using technology. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 49(11): 1024-1036. 1998 Sep. [References]
a. 49(11) is the volume and number of pages in the article
b. 49(11) is the volume and issue number of the article


The questions marked with * are modified from the UCI Tutorial quizzes.
The questions marked with ** are taken from the SKIL Tutorial.
The questions marked with *** are taken or modified from Millikin University Information Literacy Skills Assessment.

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