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Information Literacy for Undergrads

Advice and Best Practices to Insure Obtaining and Using the Best Resources Available.

Information Literacy

Information literacy is being able to identify your information need.  It is knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use, and communicate it in an ethical and legal way.

The skills and competencies that are needed to be information literate require an understanding of:

  • The information need
  • How to find information
  • How to evaluate information
  • How to find and use the information as appropriate
  • The ethics and responsibility of use
  • How to communicate or share your findings


Research Process

The research process is a cycle that can apply to research for any course through these steps:

  • Chose a topic and get a working knowledge of that topic. State the topic as a question.
  • Plan the search. Identify the main concepts or keywords in the question. Try to think of synonyms for keywords.
  • Find and access sources. Use RioCat to find books and eBooks and OhioLINK databases to find full-text articles. Also find resources on the Internet, but make sure that they are reliable.
  • Evaluate sources and determine which ones will be most appropriate for a college research paper. Do they answer the research question?
  • Cite the sources as prescribed by the instructor.

Critical Thinking & Information Literacy

Critical Thinking in terms of Information Literacy involves

  • Realizing the task
  • Exploring, formulating, questioning, and making connections
  • Searching and finding
  • Collecting and organizing
  • Analyzing, evaluating, interpreting
  • Applying understanding
  • Communicating
  • Reflecting

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Fair Use

Fair Use: Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act allows for some provisions of using a reproduction of someone else's copyright-protected work if it is used for one of the following purposes: criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research. However, fair use does not automatically qualify every educational use of a copyrighted work. A fair use evaluation is needed for each use or re-use of a work. The evaluation as to whether the reproduction is fair use must be made based upon four factors:

  • The purpose and character of use (commercial vs. nonprofit educational use)
  • The nature of the copyright-protected work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyright-protected work.

The legal defense for using the fair use provision would be in front of a federal court.

When providing copyrighted works under the provisions of fair use, notify users that the works may be subject to copyright protection.