Saturday, September 4, 2010

Case study research into information literacy

Welcome to Ms Koppen's Librarian Probe

The following postings are on the topic of information literacy and the research that I undertook as part of my Masters of Education in Teacher Librarianship in 2010 with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

The aim of this site is to add to the growing bank of information seeking for librarians around the globe and to assist educators in enhancing students' understanding of the infinite information on the World Wide Web.

The topic of information literacy has produced multiple models of guided inquiry, relational approaches, research cycles and phenomenological considerations for information seekers.


I embarked on information literacy search strategies with a trial class in Brisbane, Australia. I found that students could offer their own strategies, which was shared with the rest of the group.

An research task based on the Australian curriculum was given to the students with the question "What was life like in Brisbane last century?" The students explained what they already knew on the topic and then posed their own questions to begin their research.

Once the students had researched their historical topic on the World Wide Web and had interviewed past generations to confirm their findings, the students went on an excursion to a historical village. They immersed themselves in activities of the past such as weaving, blacksmithing, fossicking and going on horse and cart rides with some elderly volunteers from a historical association. From this real life interaction, the students create role plays to synthesise this information and will perform their new knowledge of the topic to a school community.

I found that my classroom practice was reinforced by the literature. Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2007, pp.62-74) recognize that Howard Gardener’s (1983) multiple intelligences explain, that each person has some combination of eight different kinds of ability.” They see that school libraries, the World Wide Web, museums and community resources enhance guided inquiry learning. They see that school library as an inquiry laboratory” where a “powerful learning synergy” is created. (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2007,p.74).

This “powerful learning synergy” was evident during the Information Search Process (ISP) and subsequent activities with the trial class as the students became a "community of designers" that experimented with searching and gave feedback with a series of questionaires. The Student Learning Through Inquiry Measure (SLIM) Toolkit (Todd, Kuhlthau, & Heinstrom, 2005) was used.

My research report entitled "Building A Community of Designers in Primary Schools" aims to provide educators with ideas to design learning activities that require students to locate, interpret, organise and share global information on the World Wide Web.


The "Building a Community of Designers in Primary Schools " Report found that inquiry based learning principles appear effective in facilitating transformational learning outcomes for middle childhood students.

Scaffolded learning appears effective in providing middle childhood students with both the structure and emotional support they need to maximise their learning.

It appears that the rate of learning achievement is effected by factors not directly addressed by the ISP model. If these factors are linked to linguistic competence, cognitive power, cultural influences then inclusive class structures may result in performance at variance to that predicted by the model.


There needs to be recognition of the special needs of learners and thoughtful graduated evaluation throughout the learning cycle.

By working together, as a "community of designers" guided, motivated and supported by their teacher, the architect of their learning plan, students will build their own path to attaining information literacy.


Large, Bowler, Beheshti & Nesset (2007) coined the term "community of designers"

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2008) "Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies and Practices" Peter Lang Publishers New York,NY.

Koppen, I., (2010) "Building a Community of Designers in Primary Schools" report (unpublished Masters Degree report, QUT)

Kuhlthau C., Maniotes, L & Caspari, A (2007) "Guided Inquiry: Learning in the 21st Century" Libraries Unlimited Westport, CT.

NOTE: To view more posts continue to scroll down.

1 comment:

  1. Ildika, I find your wrap up even more food for thought on my musings of this topic. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Gardner's multiple intelligences are all parts of the big picture. Kuhlthau is often referenced, and her research has certainly made me more aware in my practices. Your phrase 'Powerful learning synergy' is extremely apt.
    A thought provoking conclusion!