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The instruction materials here are for instructors and librarians teaching research and information skills (information literacy). They are organized by the four aspects of information literacy listed below. You may also view these materials by instruction type (handouts, worksheets, activities).

Information literacy involves using information critically in various contexts and for specific purposes. It includes but also extends beyond using library resources. While information literacy involves a complex range of interrelated abilities and dispositions, it may be broken into the following dimensions:

Information Literacy@IU

  • Inquiry: Exploring and developing research questions; Identifying and evaluating information needs

  • Evaluation: Assessing functions and uses of sources 

  • Knowledge creation: Using information to construct and communicate knowledge

  • Conversation: Engaging in the exchange of ideas and knowledge


  • Identify potential research topics and questions.
  • Identify starting points for pursuing a research topic.
  • Develop effective research strategies for locating information relevant to a research question.
  • Explore and refine research topics and questions in light of retrieved information.

From Topic to Research Question (Handout): Steps in developing a topic and research questions
Narrowing a Topic (Handout)Steps in exploring and refining a research topic
Identifying Keywords (Handout): Tips on keyword searching in databases
Basic Search Tips (Handout): Search strategies and ways to narrow/broaden a search
Introduction to OneSearch@IU database (Handout): Tips for using this interdisciplinary database

Choosing a Topic and Search Terms (Worksheet): Word document from U. of Virginia
Searching OneSearch and Google (Worksheet): Guidance and questions on finding and evaluating sources through the library database OneSearch@IU and Google
Sources as Seeds (Worksheet)Use a “seed” source to identify other relevant sources.
Sources as Conversation (Worksheet): Explore sources as reflections of larger debates and discussions. 

Scope of a Research Question (Activity)Class activities on narrowing or broadening a research question and search strategy


  • Evaluate the rhetorical functions and uses of potential sources (e.g. author, audience, purpose, point of view, bias)
  • Determine the potential relevance of sources for the given information need. 
  • Revise search strategies when needed.
  • Recognize common characteristics of a variety of information sources types (e.g. primary sources, scholarly journals, blogs, wikis).

Evaluating Sources Rhetorically (Handout)Page 1: Questions for evaluating sources rhetorically; Page 2: Illustration of Bizup's BEAM model for rhetorical source use.
Evaluating Search Results (Handout)Tips for how to evaluate relevance of search results
Is It Scholarly? (Handout)Questions for evaluating if a source is scholarly
Anatomy of a [Scientific] Scholarly Article (Handout) (Capella University)
Reading a Scholarly Article (Handout): Tips on understanding and using scholarly articles
Primary Sources (Handout)What primary sources how and how they can be used
Useful Terms for Academic Research (Handout)Explains terms for different resource types

Scholarly/Popular Source Comparison (Worksheet)Worksheet with guided questions for source evaluation
Web Evaluation (Worksheet)Guiding questions for evaluating websites relevant to a research topic

Knowledge Creation

  • Identify connections and disconnections among multiple sources.
  • Synthesize and analyze information from various sources in order to create new meanings and knowledge.
  • Organize and present information clearly in order to achieve a defined purpose.
  • Develop and articulate informed arguments, some of which may call to question other viewpoints.

Develop a Thesis (Handout)Emphasizes the role of the research process in thesis development
Using Evidence (Handout) (IUB Writing Tutorial Services)
Literature Reviews (Handout) (Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Annotated Bibliographies (Handout) (Univ. of New South Wales-Australia)

Preliminary Bibliography (Worksheet)Steps and guiding questions for developing a preliminary bibliography
Sources as Seeds (Worksheet)Use a “seed” source to identify other relevant sources.
Sources as Conversation (Worksheet): Explore sources as reflections of larger debates and discussions.


  • Recognize research and knowledge creation as dialogic processes that involve listening to, acknowledging, and responding to others’ related ideas.
  • Communicate one’s own ideas through dialogic exchange and various modes of information sharing.
  • Recognize shared information practices of relevant discourse communities.
  • Provide clear documentation of information sources.

Staying Organized throughout the Research Process (Handout) (Lake Forest College) 
Interpret a Citation (Activity)Explores citations as a way to locate and share sources
Sources as Conversation (Worksheet): Explore sources as reflections of larger debates and discussions.

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