AM Posters 2009 START Conference Manager    

Espoused Theories and Theories-in-Use of Information Literacy: A Model for Reflection and Evaluation

Paulette Kerr

(Submission #77)


What values and frameworks underpin professional practice in information literacy education? Does information literacy do what is says it will do? Is practice aligned with mission and goals? Are the tools of practice effective in meeting students’ learning outcomes? In addressing these and other questions, this poster documents the preliminary findings of a research study which investigates the relationships between espoused theories and theories-in-use of information literacy (IL). The study asks if and how, the foundational beliefs and values of information literacy as expressed in official policy documents and mission statements in academic libraries (espoused theories), guide and are realized in the practice of information literacy in these institutions (theories-in-use). The research is guided by the theoretical framework of Argyris and Schon (1974), theory of action, in which contrasting theories, namely espoused theories and theories-in-use are used to examine professional practice. In the study, the practice of information literacy is operationalized through a selected sample of best practice online tutorials which provide instruction in a range of dimensions. The poster highlights the process and findings of the in-depth analysis of one library’s policy statements and online tutorial, which employed a comparative questioning approach (Strauss and Corbin, 1998). The analysis uncovered statements and concepts relating to teaching and learning outcomes which were labeled, compared, and grouped into broad categories. Themes emerged from further comparison. The findings indicate varying patterns of congruence and incongruence between the library’s espoused theories and theories-in-use of information literacy.

The research is presented as a model for reflecting on and evaluating tools of practice in information literacy education.


[Additional materials, author bios (DOC)]  

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