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What is Information Competency?

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) developed competency standards for higher education.

The information literate student is able to:
  • Determine the extent of information needed.
  • Access the needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically.
  • Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base.
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.


Click Here to see my 2005 NITOP (National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology) PowerPoint presentation on Information Competency in Biological Psychology. This file includes fourteen assignments that can be used to promote information competence.

Click here to see sample assignment instructions that I use in class.

Sample Information Competency Assignments:

  1. Identify three websites that contain information relevant to your research topic. Evaluate each site for relevance, currency, accuracy, credibility, and coverage.
  2. After reading five resources for your topic, answer the following questions:
    • What was your opinion of the topic prior to reading your resources?
    • Did your opinion change as a result of your reading?
    • Which resource was most influential? Why?
    • Which resource was least influential? Why?
  3. Identify three leading experts in your area of interest. Compare and contrast their ideas. Who influences you the most and why?
  4. Compare the bibliographies from two current papers on the same topic. Which do you think is better and why?
  5. Assign a controversial reading, such as Richard de Grandpre's "Is your ADHA support group a front organization for the pharmaceutical industry?" Ask students to do one or more of the following activities:
    • Examine each of the author's assertions using other resources.
    • Investigate the author, and comment on any possible biases.
    • Investigate sources quoted in the article and comment on possible biases.
    • Rewrite the article as objectively as possible.


Additional Resources for Information Competency

UC Berkeley Library Tutorial: Finding Information on the Internet
CSU Information Competence Tutorials
University of Texas Information Literacy Tutorials
City University of New York Information Competency Tutorials

Promoting Information Competency in Biological Psychology (Laura A. Freberg and Gayle Brosnan-Watters)






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Everything I am or ever hope
to be, I owe to my angel



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updated: 05/01/2008

2007,  Laura Freberg , animations 2007, Karla Freberg