Swapping settings: researching information literacy in workplace and in educational contexts

Anna Hampson Lundh, Louise Limberg, Annemaree Lloyd

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    Introduction. The field of information literacy research is characterised by a multitude of interests, research approaches, and theoretical starting-points. Challenges for information literacy research lie in its relevance to professional fields where information literacy is a concern, and the need to build a strong theoretical base for the research area. This paper aims to lay a foundation for a discussion on how researchers may approach issues of norms and values in information literacy research, through a comparison between selected studies on information literacy in educational and workplace settings respectively.Method. Eight recent empirical studies focussing on information literacy were selected for analysis; four studies of educational settings and four of workplace settings. Analysis. A comparison between the eight studies was made with a focus on conceptualisations of information literacy and approaches to issues of norms and values.Results. Two overall approaches to norms and values in relation to information literacy can be identified in the eight studies. Whereas the studies conducted with students have a clear evaluative approach, three of the workplace studies are characterised by an explorative approach. One of the workplace studies has an in-between position. The evaluative and explorative approach is then swapped, to examine how relevant each approach is in the context of the other setting. In this way, we are able to discuss underlying perspectives that direct contemporary information literacy research.Conclusion. The analysis suggests that well-chosen theoretical perspectives are necessary for information literacy research if it wants to profoundly influence professional practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages17
    JournalInformation Research: an international electronic journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


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