Exploring the connections between information literacy and writing for international students

Karen Bordonaro
2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. pp. 1 - 17

Abstract


Purpose: This exploratory study sought to investigate how the information literacy process and the writing process may simultaneously be experienced by international students working at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Any connections or intersections that were observed between the two processes were described with an eye towards informing the practice of academic librarians who work with non-native speakers of English. The investigation was framed by a language learning perspective.

Methodology: This study used a mixed-method approach. Investigation of the international graduate students who were non-native speakers of English took place through the use of an online survey that consisted of open-ended questions. Investigation of the international undergraduate students who had more limited proficiency in English took place through quantitative means, whereby samples of their produced output on a writing assignment were collected by the researcher and assigned numeric scores indicating both their writing abilities and their information literacy abilities.

Findings: Evidence of information literacy and the writing process taking place simultaneously was found for both graduate and undergraduate students who were non-native speakers of English. The graduate student group showed a strong connection between the two processes as they described intersections at critical junctures during the writing of their research essays. They engaged in library practices that can also be viewed as language learning experiences. Undergraduate students who were non-native speakers of English also engaged in both processes simultaneously but no strong correlation was found between the two sets of scores.

Originality and Practical Implications: Library literature offers us some information on the information literacy needs of international students but it does not offer any in-depth study that examines how the processes of information literacy and writing may be connected for this particular group of users. In framing a closer look at how these processes appear through a language learning lens, academic librarians may learn how to work more effectively with these students.

Keywords


information literacy; writing; non-native speakers of English

Full Text: PDF