The CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG) has issued new versions of its Research Smarter resource sheets, which are designed to help secondary school students research effectively and be information literate.
The original set of leaflets was produced in early 2016, in collaboration with the TeenTech initiative, but these were largely intended to meet the requirements of the schools that bid for awards in TeenTech’s annual competitions. This new edition has been adapted to make the resource sheets of wider appeal and no longer tied solely to these competitions.
The set consists of ten resource sheets, nine of which are each focused on a different aspect of the research process, and on how the effective and discerning use of information forms a crucial part of that process. For instance, the sheets cover areas such as defining research questions; choosing/using search engines; evaluating information; referencing your research; and copyright issues. The tenth flyer serves as a scene-setter and explains – through the use of an easy-to-follow flow chart – the relationship between the concepts and practices presented in the entire set. The material is clearly worded, attractively presented and is intended to catch the attention of both secondary school teachers and students. The previous versions of the resource sheets were well received, as testified by an evaluation that drew from interviews conducted with selected school teachers and librarians and from a survey of students. It is therefore hoped that the revised material will have broad appeal too.
The resource sheets take the form of separate PDF documents, which may be printed as A4 sheets. They are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 licence, so they can be shared, reproduced and re-used widely.
A priority for ILG is now to disseminate and promote this material. The sheets are not only useful in themselves as a practical resource, but they also help to raise awareness of the relevance of good information practice as an important contribution to the school curriculum, in as much as this addresses critical literacy and digital literacy (and, implicitly, information literacy). This could be particularly valuable where students are expected to deploy research methodologies – for instance in the context of Extended Project Qualifications (EPQs). ILG is therefore looking to engage with a range of bodies that have an interest in curriculum development, including relevant professional teaching bodies, such as the PSHE Association (PSHE – personal, social, health and economic education) and the Association for Citizenship Teaching; examination boards; schools-focused initiatives such as the National Literacy Trust’s NewsWise; Government departments, notably the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS); and, of course, the school libraries community.
There is much to be done, and ILG would welcome ideas about who they could usefully engage with, and how best to do this. Please contact Stéphane Goldstein, the group’s Advocacy and Outreach Officer, with your suggestions or for more information.
Let us know your thoughts on the updated resources sheets in the comments section below! Perhaps you’ve used these resources with your students – if so, we’d love to hear from you!