Information Literacy in the Political Science Class –

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Everywhere and Nowhere: Information Literacy in the Political Science Classroom

By Stephen Thorton, Cardiff University and Douglas B. Atkinson, University of Salzburg

Recent research suggests that many faculty members believe their students lack the information literacy (IL) skills needed to be successful in their academic careers. Reports also suggest that there is a wider issue regarding IL’s uncertain position in the university curriculum. This article uses data from a global survey of political science teachers to better understand how widespread this perception is, what is being done about this perceived problem, and what steps can be taken to encourage teachers to implements IL training in the classroom. We find that teachers believe there is a problem, but many do not explicitly teach IL as part of their courses. We also find that faculty members who have received VA training are much more likely to include it in their courses. This leads us to suggest that IL training should be provided at the faculty level, which will have positive downstream effects on the IL training students receive. We also argue that IL deserves a more prominent place in the university curriculum.

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