Monday, October 19, 2015

The Enactment of Information Literacy: An Exploratory Study among Interdisciplinary PhD Students #ecil2015

Next in liveblogging from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015 was The Enactment of Information Literacy: An Exploratory Study among Interdisciplinary PhD Students was presented by Ola Pilerot, and his co-author was Louise Limberg.
This study was based on material originally gathered for Pilerot's PhD work. The problem that they perceoved that students in interdisciplinary fields face "a number of chal;enges concerning epistemic traditions and research practices" - as they are having to engage with more than one disciplinary areas they have to cope with a scattered literature, and differences in disciplinary practices (about how you do research, what tools you use, what are good methods etc.)
In this context information literacy is seen as the embodied capacity to engage with information (find, evaluate etc.) in a disciplinary area (so that the students can come to grips with the different disciplinary practices and information worlds). The interdisciplinary field here was "design research".
Research questions were "How is IL enacted in the investigated practice" and "In what ways does IL relate to people and material objects in the practice under study?". There was apractice theory approach. Data was collected through 10 interviews and observations etc. in conferences, meetings etc. The "guiding principles" for the study were activities (what is done); individual agency (what can people do, what practices happen); material objects; power (what can/can't be done) and what it means to be knowledgeable.
The results included that IL is enacted:
- in dialogue with others (e.g. fellow students and conference delegates)
- through discussion about work in progress (which can be academic work, practical design wotk etc.)
Thus IL is "a collectively sustained project that unfolds in dialogue with othersand through interaction with material objects". However, it is challenging for the students to position themselves, when their projects are interdisciplinary and may be novel.
In a question afterwards I made a connection with the skills that a librarian needs to understand and think themselves into different disciplinary information/knowledge worlds.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Tallinn, 2011

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