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Information Literacy and Instruction

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

Information Literacy & Research Instruction

Today, information is more widely available, and is being produced more rapidly, than at any other time. While students and researchers have access to more information, it has become difficult to conduct accurate research and to find information effectively and efficiently.

The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as "the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning". (From the ACRL site.)

This guide aims to help faculty incorporate the skills of information literacy and critical thinking into their courses, with a focus on library resources and librarian expertise. Use the tabs to the left to navigate to topics that interest you.

Bentley Library Information Literacy Program Mission and Goals


The mission of the Bentley University Library information literacy program is to ensure that graduates of Bentley University are information-literate; that students are able to recognize the need for, successfully find, critically evaluate, and ethically use information as scholars and later as citizens and members of the workforce.

Based on the Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, Bentley reference librarians will focus on the following core concepts and outcomes in research instruction to meet its goals:

1. Research as Inquiry 

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry.

a. Identify a need for information to effectively research a topic.
b. Formulate questions based on information gaps and/or on reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting information.
c. Understand the different types and formats of information sources and demonstrate sound judgment in the selection of those sources.

2. Searching as Strategic Exploration

Searching for information requires the evaluation of a range of information sources and the ability to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.

a. Develop an effective search strategy to access needed information.
b. Utilize divergent (e.g. brainstorming) and convergent thinking (e.g. selecting the best source) when searching.
c. Demonstrate the ability to navigate relevant information resources.
d. Effectively document and organize research processes and results.
e. Refine needs and search strategies as necessary, based on previous search results.

3. Authority is Constructed and Contextual

Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and should be evaluated based on the need and context in which the information will be used.

a. Apply appropriate criteria to information sources to assess the reliability, relevance, authority, and accuracy of information.
b. Critically evaluate the creators of sources, including tone, subjectivity, and biases and consider how these relate to the original purpose(s) and audience(s) of the source.

4. Information Has Value

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world.

a. Demonstrate an understanding of intellectual property (including copyright requirements), information security and privacy, and ethical use of information.
b. Acknowledge the original ideas of others through proper attribution and citation.
c. Understand that legal, social, and economic interests impact information production and dissemination.

5. Information Creation as a Process

The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.

a. Understand that the format and delivery method impact the message conveyed.
b. Create new insights using tools and resources appropriate for the topic and audience.
c. Participate effectively and ethically in communities of discourse to achieve shared goals and values.

6. Scholarship as Conversation

Scholars and researchers engage in discourse, providing new ideas from a variety of perspectives and interpretations.

a. Contribute to scholarly conversation through guided discussion, institutional publications, and presentations.

We will accomplish our mission by achieving the following goals:

  • working with faculty to design curricula, courses, assignments, and library instruction classes that support the development of students’ information literacy abilities
  • reaching students through library instruction in core academic programs such as the General Business Core and Expository Writing program and beyond
  • designing instruction that meets the needs of learners where they are, including consideration of cognitive abilities, learning styles, and subject expertise through a variety of modalities
  • periodically conducting needs assessments for constituencies throughout campus
  • integrating the teaching of information literacy into reference interactions and consultations, tutorials, workshops, and other forms of interaction with students
  • constantly improving as teaching librarians through feedback and professional development
  • performing outreach and developing tools to increase students’ awareness of the value of high-quality information resources and research

We will know we are accomplishing our goals from the results of the following assessments:

  •  assessing student work (such as Works Cited or finished projects) to measure the impact of library instruction
  •  implementing formative assessment (such as quizzes or assessment of in-class presentations) to measure students’ learning
  • measuring the reach of the information literacy program through library instruction and reference service statistics, integration into syllabi and curricula, and other information-gathering methods
  • actively assessing librarians’ teaching by soliciting feedback from students, faculty, fellow librarians, and other teachers

The Bentley Library Information Literacy Program Mission & Goals were revised in April 2021.


Research Instruction Coordinator

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Matthew Van Sleet
Room 010
Bentley University Library
175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02452