Information literacy standards and the World Wide Web: results from a student survey on evaluation of Internet information sources

“Introduction. This paper aims to determine how appropriate information literacy instruction is for preparing students for these unmediated searches using commercial search engines and the Web.
Method. A survey was designed using the 2000 Association of College and Research Libraries literacy competency standards for higher education. Survey questions examined how subjects perceived the source evaluation criteria of reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness and point of view or bias.
Analysis. Quantitative analysis was carried out on the data collected from 389 survey respondents who answered twenty-seven multiple choice questions concerning their information search practice and their evaluations of information sources.
Results. Subjects primarily use Google as a research source for academic work and appear to be confused about how to determine the author of a source and how to determine the qualifications of the author. About half of the subjects indicated they may not be able to determine the author of an Internet source yet consider it possible to determine the objectivity of the source.
Conclusions. Information literacy instruction on source evaluation criteria may need to be reexamined in relation to the various information sources available today. More effective information literacy instruction methods which address the issues identified in this study may need to be implemented.”


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