Using teaching faculty focus groups to assess information literacy core competencies at a university level

Jodi Tyron, Emily Elizabeth Frigo, Mary Kathleen O'Kelly
2010, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 62-77

Abstract


Grand Valley State University librarians designed and conducted teaching faculty focus groups to gauge their response to a new information literacy (IL) core student competencies document created to support a developing library IL programme. Although the competencies were inspired by existing, widely known information literacy standards and guidelines the University Libraries' Information Literacy Competencies document (ILCC) is unique and written specifically to address the university's culture and curriculum. The authors of this paper formed a research team to assemble two groups of teaching faculty from various disciplines and to analyse focus group transcripts using a content analysis approach. The resulting data revealed unexpected perceptions about information literacy among teaching faculty and concerns about how to apply the ILCC document. In analysing the data, we generated ideas for supporting teaching faculty as they apply the ILCC document. Focus groups were used to gauge teaching faculty perceptions of the ILCC document. The results of the focus groups informed our efforts to tailor the ILCC document to existing university programs and curricula by using the language that was familiar to teaching faculty; and to explore teaching faculty perceptions of challenges and needed support. The paper explains how the focus group method was employed to test information literacy competencies in order to provide a potential model for other universities who are customising their own information literacy standards


 

Keywords


Information literacy; focus groups; university; liberal education; grounded theory; library

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