Information Literacy in Higher Education and Its Influence on Scholarship Practice and Leadership Research Proposal

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¶ … Literacy

Information Literacy as the Most Essential Component of Higher Education:

An Exploration in Scholarship, Practice, and Leadership

In secondary education, or high school, the primary role of the teacher is to present information integral to the teenagers' future personal, academic, and professional lives. In higher education, on the other hand, the teacher plays a very different role. In fact, Naamwar and Rastgo (2008) state that the "teacher's role is not giving the information to students but is guiding them during the instruction" (p.176).

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In other words, higher level education requires an instructor who can engage students, showing them how inquiring, researching, learning, and understanding are crucial aspects of a person's education and well-being. Indeed, critical thinking is, in many academicians' views, the most integral part of higher education, an aspect that requires students to understand and enjoy contemplating problems with no easy answer. Whether an instructor in higher level education teaches science, math, history, or English, he or she attempts to engage the students in critical thinking and problem solving as a means of guiding them in their learning and understanding. But before students can learn to think critically about the material they read and pose their own questions, they have sufficient information literacy. The National Forum on Information Literacy gives the following definition of information literacy: "Information Literacy is defined as the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand" (Keller 2009). Thus, through an exploration of information literacy's impact on scholarship, practice, and leadership, one can determine that information literacy is not just an essential component of higher education, but also the most essential component of higher education.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Information Literacy in Higher Education and Its Influence on Scholarship Practice and Leadership Assignment

While higher education is intended to prepare a student for his or her future occupation, its goal is also to introduce students to the important concepts, theories, and research in their specific field as well as other fields that are relevant to them. Thus, scholarship is an important component of higher education, as students must have an understanding of academic scholarship in order to perform successfully in their fields. Despite this requirement, students enter institutes of higher education without the ability to comprehend or analyze scholarship. This is often a result of high school curriculums focused on the regurgitation of knowledge. Zabel (2004) confirms this when she states that, "students, especially undergraduates, often lack the skills to find, evaluate, effectively use information" (para. 2). A higher education curriculum, on the other hand, focuses on the student's ability to understand the subject matter, analyze that subject matter and argue with or against the grain, and make a practical application to their own personal, professional, and academic lives. Information literacy is of utmost importance in their ability to attain this goal. With appropriate levels of information literacy, students will understand how to search the documents that are presented to them for relevant information.

Lauer and Yodanis (2004) show the importance of information literacy in a student's scholarly efforts through its deficiency in American schools. These American-trained sociologists spent time teaching in a Swiss school, and found themselves changing their teaching methods to include "international examples and data that [they] could use to illustrate points made during lectures" (Lauer and Yodanis, 2004, p.304). In doing this, the scholars found that students in the United States were much more "globally illiterate" than students in other countries. The authors argue that, "there has been a long recognized need for international education in universities" (Lauer and Yodanis 2004, p.304). This is especially true in context of the nearly five years since the scholars documented their problem, as globalization has continued to flourish. Thus, these scholars point out the importance of information literacy on the student's scholarly efforts. Students who have not attained information literacy are unable to look at academic material from an informed viewpoint, making real, practical applications to their worlds.

Although scholarship is a necessary part of higher education, requiring a competence in informational literacy for student success, students must also learn to use information literacy in practice, or through practical application. That practical application can take many forms, depending on the student's major or field of study. Namwar and Rastgoo (2008) certainly agree with Lauer and Yodanis's (2008) suggestion of the importance of information literacy.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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