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Information Literacy and Instruction: Further Reading: Critical Thinking & Student Behaviors

Resources and tips about information literacy, critical thinking, and how faculty can incorporate these concepts into their courses.

Fundamentals of Information Literacy / Critical Thinking

These articles, books, and reports address the basic concepts of, and skills related to, information literacy and critical thinking, especially in terms of college students.


Adhikari, R. (2009, September). Is the Internet killing critical thinking? TechNewsWorld.Retrieved from

A column on the importance of critical thinking in an age of information overload.

Badke, W. (2011). The treachery of keywords. Online, 35(3), 52-54. Available at the Bentley Library online through EBSCO.

A column on the pros and cons of only using keywords to search, both on the Internet and within closed systems like a library catalog.

Bail, J. (2009). From business school to the boardroom: Essential research skills for students entering the workplace from a former corporate librarian. Retrieved from (Opens into a PDF.)

A conference poster of a business librarian’s list of information literacy skills students need before entering the workforce.

Brabazon, T. (2007). The University of Google: Education in the (post) information age. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. Available at the Bentley Library (call number LB2395.7 .B73 2007).

Brabazon, a professor in the UK, combines her own teaching observations with studies about online learning. She discusses the advantages and disadvantages of new learning styles and strategies.

Fulton, C. (2010). Information pathways: A problem-solving approach to information literacy. Lanham: Scarecrow Press. Available at the Bentley Library (call number ZA3075 .F85 2010)

A guide to finding and using information, of use not just to students but to everyone; includes concepts like how the publication process affects how to interpret information, and numeric (or data) literacy.

Riedling, A.M. (2006). Learning to learn: A guide to becoming information literate in the 21st century. New York: Neal-Schuman. Available at the Bentley Library (call number ZA3075 .R54 2006).

Aimed at students, this guide details the steps in the research process, and how information literacy and librarians fit in to that process.

Sanger, L. (2010). Individual knowledge in the Internet age. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(2), 14-24. Available online at the EDUCAUSE website.

A surprising and well-researched take on collaborative learning and online information literacy by one of the founders of Wikipedia.

Saunders, L. (2011). Information literacy as a student learning outcome: The perspective of institutional accreditation. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Available at the Bentley Library (call number ZA3075 .S28 2011).

This study connects concepts of information literacy with accreditation mandates, and offers suggestions for integration and assessment of information literacy in the higher education curriculum.

Watts, M.M. (Ed.). (2008). Information literacy: One key to education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Available at the Bentley Library (call number ZA3075 .I5375 2008).

Includes chapters on integrating information literacy into the higher education curriculum and classroom, information literacy's relationship to cognitive development, and student engagement.

    Student Behaviors and Perceptions

    These articles, books, and reports study students' research habits, beliefs, and preferences.


    Badke, W. (2011). Remedial information literacy? Online, 35(2), 51-53. Available at the Bentley Library online through LISTA.

    A succinct analysis of the gaps between faculty expectations and students’ actual understanding of research concepts, and how librarians and faculty can bridge those gaps.

    Emmons, M., Martin, W., Botts, C., & Amundson, C. (2010). Engaging sources: Information literacy and the freshman research paper (Part I). LOEX Quarterly, 36(4), 8-9. Available in print at the Bentley Library.

    A study of the way freshmen incorporate sources into research papers, and what types of sources they use.

    Fister, B. (2013, June 25). Tacit knowledge and the student researcher. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

            A list of assumptions that faculty and librarians may make about undergraduates' information behaviors, based on their own.

    Gross, M. (2009). Undergraduate perceptions of information literacy: Defining, attaining, and self-assessing skills. College & Research Libraries, 70(4), 336-350.

    Compares interviews with undergraduates (assessing their perceptions of information literacy) with their skills on an information literacy skills test.

    Harris, F.J. (2011). I found it on the Internet: Coming of age online. Chicago: American Library Association. Available at the Bentley Library (call number Z718.5 .H38 2011)

    Written by a high school librarian; examines adolescents’ use of the Internet and technology, including evaluating information and using both existing and new systems of information organization.

    Head, A.J. (2007). Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research? First Monday, 12(8). Retrieved from

    This study uses surveys and focus groups to describe undergraduates’ experiences with secondary research, particularly obstacles they encounter while doing research.

    Head, A.J., & Eisenberg, M.B. (2011, June 3). College students eager to learn but need help negotiating information overload. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from

     The authors of Project Information Literacy argue that today's students are not lazy, but simply need more help navigating an overwhelming information landscape.

    Kim, K. & Sin, S.J. (2007). Perception and selection of information sources by undergraduate students: Effects of avoidant style, confidence, and personal control in problem-solving. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(6)655-665. 

    Examines why students select or prefer some sources over others, including factors like problem-solving styles and ease of use.

    McClure, R. & Clink, K. (2009). How do you know that?: An investigation of student research practices in the digital age. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 9(1), 115-132. Available at the Bentley Library online through Project Muse.

    Examines English composition students’ evaluation of sources for research in terms of timeliness, authority, and bias.

    McGuinness, C. & Brien, M. (2007). Using reflective journals to assess the research process. Reference Services Review 35(1), 21-40. Available at the Bentley Library online through ProQuest Research Library.

    Uses research journals to assess students’ progress throughout a research paper in an information literacy course.

    Noel-Levitz, Inc. (2012). 2012 National freshman attitudes report. Retrieved from

    Describes the attitudes that first-year students bring to college; research done by Noel-Levitz, an education research firm.

    Project Information Literacy. (2011, May). Retrieved from

    Several reports stemming from a "national study about early adults and their information-seeking behaviors, competencies, and the challenges they face when conducting research in the digital age" (from the site).

    Senior, H., Wu, K., Martin, D.M., & Mellinger, M. (2009). Three times a study: Business students and the library. Journal of Business & Finance Librarianship, 14(4), 202-229. Available in print at the Bentley Library.

    The authors revisit a 30-year-old study to compare business undergraduate and graduate students’ perceptions of the library and competence in research skills.

    Windham, C. (2006). Getting past Google: Perspectives on information literacy from the millennial mind. An EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative paper, available in PDF online.

    A student-focused perspective on how students navigate evaluation, ethics, and privacy related to information on the Internet.