Beyond Buzz Words and Skill Sets: The Role of Critical Thinking in Information Literacy
The concept of information literacy should go far beyond users acquisition of banked skills. The competence to execute a keyword search in a specific database, navigate a library catalog, or memorize a certain call number does not indicate users are able to think on their own feet. Users who are truly information literate have the capacities to solve problems, think independently and are able to structure their own research processes once they leave the classroom. Effective, engaging instruction is the vehicle through which users can achieve these sought-after attributes; when they are interacting with information and confronted with options, such guidance prepares users for the process of making the most appropriate decision possible. If users are able to think critically, they will not flounder when confronted with a new or complicated resource, a complex research topic, or a hands-off professor; rather, they will possess an increased awareness of their own thought processes, be able to adapt to unfamiliar situations, and arrive at reasoned decisions.
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