Information Literacy Project

Submitted by Deborah Novak on July 12th, 2016
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Short Description: 

This assignment was created for an introductory nutrition course for health related science majors and nonmajors to meet the Information Literacy Flag criteria for the core standards at Loyola Marymount University. The assignment focuses on the evaluation of a primary and secondary source on a specific topic to assess the similarities and differences between the sources of information. The primary goal of the assignment is for a pair of students to select a current popular press article that references a recent scientific journal article. The students then procure a copy of the scientific journal article. Using a formatted questionnaire, the students evaluate characteristics and information from the popular press article and then characteristics and information from the journal article, then compare and contrast the two information sources.

Learning Outcomes: 

Locate, evaluate and effectively utilize information obtained from a variety of information sources. Find and use scholarly and discipline-specific professional information and understand how it differs from popular information. Evaluate resources for reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, and bias.

Individual or Group: 
Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

This assignment is incorporated into an introductory nutrition course for health-related science majors and nonmajors. Most nutrition courses include a discussion on scientific research methods and sources of reliable nutrition information. This project has been integrated into the course as the follow-up assignment to the Scientific Method and Reliable Sources of Nutrition Information Unit. The assignment is designed to be completed by students partnered together in groups of two (three when there is an odd number of students in the class).

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

This assignment does not work well if the popular press article is a "list" i.e. top 5 sources of fiber, or the journal article is a opinion or summary piece. The journal article should be a standard analytical, descriptive or experimental study. Instructor needs to carefully review the popular press article and scientific article to make sure the students have selected proper articles. About 10-15% of the class need 2-3 tries before identifying an appropriate set of articles. The due date for Part 2 is usually determined after all of the groups have successfully identified their sources. The project can be done individually but it can be time consuming to grade which is why it has become a partner project. The partner evaluation rubric provides accountability for level of participation of each partner.

Suggested Citation: 
Novak, Deborah. "Information Literacy Project." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2016.