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SPURS - guide for instructors


What is in this guide?

This guide walks you through some of the common issues and stumbling blocks that new researchers come up against. Use the menu to navigate through the topics.

What do librarians do?

Librarians do a lot and know a lot - have a chat with your school or public librarian and learn more. We are helpful folks who love to make time to help you teach your students information literacy skills.

What is information literacy? Media literacy? Digital literacy?

Information literacy is the ability to:

  • recognize an information need
  • know where and how to search for that information
  • know how to evaluate that information
  • know how to use that information ethically

Information literacy bumps up against media literacy, which, in addition to the skills needed to access, evaluate and analyze, asks students to understand the role of media in our society and become responsible media creators on their own.

Digital literacy is typically defined as the ability to learn and effectively use digital tools in pursuit of the above skills.

Being a good researcher takes these skills into account, but they are not learned overnight or in your class alone. Emphasize to your students why it is important to be a responsible researcher and that the process of research is iterative and strategic.

See the Help! tab for more info

Note about 'Fake News'

Sometimes people use the term fake news to describe news or media that is unreliable or bogus. During the election we saw a lot of illegitimate news in social media feeds, often produced overseas for profit. 

Sometimes the term is used to describe media that is perceived as unfairly biased. This view is an insidious one. Being biased does not make a piece of information untruthful - it tells us about the perspective of those producing it. 

Additionally, you may have students who have decided that many major news outlets are fake and so they turn to a handful of outlets they've decided to trust. Being a responsible citizen means exposure to a variety of viewpoints. It means understanding what a journalist does and the importance of the fourth estate in a democracy. 

It means learning the difficult process of analyzing every piece of news on its own merits before dismissing it as fake or biased. 


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Elise Nacca
Perry-CastaƱeda (Main) Library (PCL)

Note for SPURS Instructors

We are overhauling our website this summer and throughout the next year- bad timing for creating this guide with all of these links. If you see a broken link on this guide, it is because I forgot to change it - email me! Likewise, if you clicked on a link and it looked one way, then you click on it a month later and it looks different, it may be just the interface that is changed and not the content. Email me if you are concerned.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic License.