Association of College and Research Libraries Psychology Information Literacy Standards

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1 1 P a g e Introduction The (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) provides general performance indicators and outcomes to use in undergraduate settings. The following standards map these general guidelines into the domain of psychology. The Education and Behavioral Services Section of ACRL has charged the Psychology Information Literacy Working Group to create standards for undergraduate psychology students. We have followed the example of the Information Literacy Standards for the Anthropology and Sociology Section (2008) in two important ways: a) we have incorporated the legal and ethical aspects of information literacy, which comprise the fifth standard for the general ACRL documents, into the first four standards and, b) we have provided concrete examples of sources and research situations. The American Psychological Association (APA) lists 54 divisions of psychology ranging from experimental psychology to educational psychology to psychotherapy. While each of these areas has specific needs, they all adhere to the same principles of research ethics. For this reason we have also considered those portions of the APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major (2007) that are relevant to information literacy. Using these guidelines captures the underpinnings of psychology common to all areas. The standards also build on the guidelines for minimal training for psychology majors first proposed by Merriam, LaBaugh, and Butterfield (1992). In addition, we have examined the research of librarians who provide instruction for psychology and elicited feedback from psychology faculty to help provide specific performance indicators and outcomes. This includes the identification of relevant information resources. The main purposes of the are to: Encourage librarian and faculty collaboration in the teaching of information literacy as a component of research methods in psychology (Thaxton, Faccioli, and Mosby, 2004). Help librarians design the content of information literacy instruction for students in psychology. Make possible an evaluation of the information literacy skills of psychology students by delineating competencies that should be assessed.

2 2 P a g e STANDARD ONE The information-literate psychology student determines the nature and extent of the information needed. Performance Indicators: 1. The information-literate psychology student defines and articulates the need for information. a. Identifies and articulates a research topic. b. Reads background sources to increase familiarity with and understanding of the concept within broader and narrower aspects of the topic. (Merriam, LaBaugh, and Butterfield, 1992). Examples: Encyclopedia of Psychology (APA) and The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science (Wiley). c. Identifies key concepts and terms that describe the information need using disciplinespecific resources. Example: APA Dictionary of Psychology d. Consults with instructor/advisor on appropriateness of research topic and scope of focus. 2. The information-literate student understands basic research methods and scholarly communication patterns in psychology necessary to select relevant resources. a. Understands the traditional production flow of scholarly communication in psychology from primary to secondary sources: conference papers > primary source journals/conference proceedings> handbooks/subject encyclopedia entries/journal review articles (Sutton, Feinberg and Levin, 1995). b. Understands basic research methods in psychology research, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation (American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, 2007). Example: Distinguishes between empirical study and literature review.

3 3 P a g e c. Understands the role of peer review in journal articles and the difference between edited and authored books. d. Understands the expanding role of the Web in scholarly communication and applies the criteria of authority to select appropriate web sources. e. Understands the principles of privacy, confidentiality, and other ethical issues related to research methodology in accordance with the principles of the American Psychological Association s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Codes of Conduct. (American Psychological Association, 2002). 3. The information-literate student understands the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information. a. Understands that scholarly material can be obtained beyond local holdings. Example: Interlibrary Loan b. Defines a realistic overall plan and timeline to acquire the needed information, conduct research, and analyze data. c. Identifies and discusses issues related to free vs. fee-based access to information, including pertinent inequalities throughout the world. STANDARD TWO The information-literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently. Performance Indicators: 1. The information-literate student selects the most appropriate sources and databases for accessing the needed information.

4 4 P a g e a. Identifies and selects library catalogs for locating relevant books. b. Identifies and selects appropriate article databases. Distinguishes the difference between discipline-specific databases and aggregate databases when using library resources. Distinguishes between vendors and databases. Examples: Identifies databases with significant content for psychology, such as PsycINFO and MEDLINE. Distinguishes between EBSCO and CSA versions of PsycINFO. c. Incorporates relevant Web search engines and government databases into scholarly research. Examples: Google Scholar and PubMed d. Knows and complies with laws and institution rules on access to information resources. 2. The information-literate student constructs and implements effectively designed search strategies. a. Uses appropriate psychological terminology for searching databases, recognizing the different effects of using keywords, synonyms, and controlled vocabulary from the database. b. Creates and uses effective search strategies in relevant databases using advanced search features, such as Boolean operators, truncation, and proximity searches. Example: (adolescent OR teen) AND episodic memory. c. Retrieves scholarly journals, books, and sources appropriate to the inquiry. Example: Understands how to locate books in the shelves using appropriate classification scheme such as Library of Congress. d. Seeks out knowledgeable individuals in the library and academic department as part of the research plan. e. Assesses results to ascertain if there are information gaps and revises or expands search strategy as necessary.

5 5 P a g e 3. The information-literate student effectively organizes and credits his information sources. a. Records systematically all relevant citation information for future use. Examples: Utilizes vendor storage space such as MyEBSCOhost, exports to bibliographic manager software such as EndNote or RefWorks. b. Produces accurate citations and reference lists using the most current documentation style of the American Psychological Association. c. Demonstrates citation of sources to respect intellectual property rights and accurately indicates where the words and ideas of others have been used. STANDARD THREE The information-literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. Performance Indicators: 1. The information-literate student summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered and synthesizes to restate or to construct new concepts. a. Selects the main ideas from resources and restates in his/her own words or identifies verbatim material to be quoted. b. Recognizes interrelationships between concepts, research results, and psychological theories and restates or combines them to produce new ideas with supporting evidence. c. Recognizes that existing information can be combined with original thought, and/or analysis to produce new information and insights into human behavior and mental processing. 2. The information-literate student combines critical and creative thinking, implementing the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes (American

6 6 P a g e Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, 2007). a. Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias. Examples: Compares information on group dynamics from Wikipedia article to Encyclopedia of Psychology article. b. Understands the role of viewpoint and theory. Example: Compares articles on language development from Journal of Child Language to articles in First Language. c. Recognizes the structure and logic of supporting arguments or methods within a psychology framework. d. Understands the need to weigh the evidence and tolerate ambiguity. (American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, 2007) e. Understands what constitutes valid evidence and recognizes prejudice, deception or manipulation. Example: Examines research on mathematics ability through the lens of gender. f. Recognizes, understands, and respects the complexity of socio-cultural and international diversity (American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, 2007). Example: Compares the concept of intelligence cross-culturally. g. Understands issues related to censorship and freedom of speech as it relates to psychological research. 3. The information-literate student compares new information with prior knowledge to determine its value, contradictions, or other unique characteristics.

7 7 P a g e a. Documents the information seeking process to explain and evaluate the research conducted. b. Demonstrates familiarity with the relevant concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historic trends in psychology (American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, 2007). c. Evaluates the information collected by comparison with other sources and current theoretical knowledge; notes the limitations of the research instruments and samples available for study. d. Draws conclusions based upon information gathered and integrates new information with previous information. e. Seeks expert opinion from advisor or other subject specialist to validate the research results and interpretation of the information. f. Extends information query based on new information when necessary, g. Outlines future research suggested by new information. STANDARD FOUR The information-literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Performance Indicators: 1. The information-literate student applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular project, paper, or presentation. a. Organizes the content in a manner that supports the purposes and format of the product. Examples: draft or outline.

8 8 P a g e b. Articulates knowledge and skills transferred from prior experiences to planning and creating the product or presentation with appropriate software and technology. c. Integrates the new and prior information, including quotations and paraphrasing with relevant citations to authors of original ideas and information; includes reference section d. Accurately represents team member contributions in collaborative projects. 2. The information-literate student communicates the product effectively to others. a. Chooses a communication medium and format that best supports the purposes of the product or presentation and the intended audience. b. Uses appropriate information technology applications in creating the product or performance. c. Demonstrates an understanding of intellectual property, copyright, and fair use of copyrighted material; posts permission granted notices as needed for copyrighted material.

9 9 P a g e References (2000). Information literacy standards for higher education. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved November 20, 2008 from American Psychological Association Board of Educational Affairs, Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies. (2007). APA guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved April 24, 2008, from American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and codes of conduct. American Psychologist, 57(12), Retrieved November 25, 2008 from Anthropology and Sociology Section Instruction and Information Literacy Committee Task Force on IL Standards. (2008). Information Literacy Standards for Anthropology and Sociology Students. Retrieved November 23, 2008 from Merriam, J., LaBaugh, R. T., & Butterfield, N. E. (1992). Library instruction for psychology majors: Minimum training guidelines. Teaching of Psychology, 19(1), Sutton, E. D., Feinberg, R. P., & Levine, C. R. (1995). Bibliographic instruction in psychology: A review of the literature. Reference Services Review, 23(3), Thaxton, L., Faccioli, M. B., & Mosby, A. P. (2004). Leveraging collaboration for information literacy in psychology. Reference Services Review, 32(2),

10 10 P a g e Other Works Consulted Bieschke, K. J., Fouad, N. A., Collins, F. L., Jr., & Halonen, J. S. (2004). The scientifically-minded psychologist: Science as a core competency. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Special Issue: Competencies Conference: Future Directions in Education and Credentialing in Professional Psychology, 60(7), Chamberlain, K. (1986). Teaching the practical research course. Teaching of Psychology, 13(4), Daugherty, T. K., & Carter, E. W. (1997). Assessment of outcome-focused library instruction in psychology. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 24(1), Faix, A., & Hughes, J. (2006). Suntanning as a risky behavio(u)r: Information literacy for research methods in psychology. In D. Cook & N. Cooper (Eds.), Teaching information literacy skills to social sciences students and practitioners: A casebook of applications (pp ). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. Hayes-Bohanan, P., & Spievak, E. (2008). You Can Lead Students to Sources, but Can You Make Them Think? College & Undergraduate Libraries, 15, 1-2. Halonen, J. S., Bosack, T., Clay, S., & McCarthy, M. (2003). A rubric for learning, teaching, and assessing scientific inquiry in psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 30(3), Lampert, L. (2005). "Getting psyched" about information literacy: successful faculty-librarian collaboration for educational psychology and counseling. The Reference Librarian (89/90), Larkin, J. E., & Pines, H. A. (2005). Developing information literacy and research skills in introductory psychology: A case study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 31(1), McCarthy, M., & Pusateri, T. P. (2006). Teaching students to use electronic databases. In W. Buskist & S. F. Davis (Eds.), Handbook of the teaching of psychology (pp ). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing. Paglia, A., & Donahue, A. (2003). Collaboration works: Integrating information competencies into the psychology curricula. Reference Services Review, 31(4),

11 11 P a g e Schlotzhauer, N. (2006). Psychology. In P. Ragains (Ed.), Information literacy instruction that works: A guide to teaching by discipline and student population. New York: Neal-Schuman. Thaxton, L. (2002). Information dissemination and library instruction in psychology revisited: "Plus ca change..." Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian, 21(1), 1-14

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