The left handed biochemist
Posted by knockels on 4 November, 2008
Well, that might have caught your eye. This is in fact a post about what we teach when we teach information literacy skills.
A posting on Twitter caught my eye, mentioning The Journal of the Left Handed Biochemist. A quick search using G****e led me to it, and it turns out to be a blog maintained by Chris Willmott in Biochemistry at this very University. I had a browse of the blog, and found this posting, about information literacy.
Chris argues that finding material has got easier, but that evaluating it has got harder. He refers to a paper published by people at a college in Minnesota, who get their students to produce an annotated bibliography. This involves them in critiquing the material they have found, and in looking within that material for tables and figures that are of interest to their studies. This happens within the context of an immunology and parasitology module.
I think there is still a place for teaching efficient searching – it is easy to find something, but if you need to be sure that you have found as much as there is (or as near to it as you can), that is harder. But there is, I am sure, a place for a debate over the most useful skills to teach, and at what level of a course to teach them. I was very interested to read Chris’ post, and have a copy of the study he refers to, so we can return to it in due course when planning for next term/year.
I also appreciated the end of the post: “An awareness of the current literature is as important to scientific research as the careful design of adequate controls“ [this is a quote from someone else]. This being the case, Information Literacy is too significant to be left to osmosis.”