what |Background

Since 2008, La Trobe University has undertaken an innovative program of university-wide undergraduate curriculum renewal and reform known as Design for Learning (DfL). A key dimension of the DfL project is to embed the six university-wide graduate capabilities in all undergraduate curricula. Inquiry/Research is one of those 6 graduate capabilities.

An important aspect of supporting students to be skilled in Inquiry/Research has been to develop their capacity to appropriately navigate, assess and use the vast amount of information available to them in a scholarly way.

Information literacy (one aspect of the Inquiry/Research graduate capability) provides students with the skill set needed to take the first steps on the path to engaging with academic information and scholarly communication processes.

Students who are information literate can search for, locate, evaluate, select, organise and use information in a way that is appropriate for Inquiry/Research in their discipline and readily transfer these skills to other contexts.

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what |What is Inquiry/Research?

The endeavour of research is a “complex phenomenon” (Brew, 2001, p. 21) which ranges from looking up references, to investigating in the field, to being involved in scholarly discourse (Healy, 2005). Whether the focus is the known or the unknown, research and inquiry can be described as “a doorway that opens on to a whole new outlook on the world” (Willison, 2009).

Development of information literacy skills underpins engagement with the research process and scholarly information. Information literacy skills are needed for inquiry and research as the “lintel of the doorway” helping to give the research process a well framed, academic structure.

La Trobe's unique approach to developing Inquiry/Research and in particular, students' information literacy knowledge and skills, involves embedding information literacy into the curriculum taking into account three levels. The toolkit supports these three levels of embedding information literacy:

  1. Formative self-assessment of existing information literacy skills and knowledge
  2. Consolidation and development of foundation information literacy skills
  3. Feedback and practise of information literacy skills in the disciplinary/subject context

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