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Information Literacy Objectives & Assessment

ILOs and Assessments for the Library, Updated Spring 2022

Objective 3

Identify the purpose and audience of potential sources


Lesson Objectives: Upon completion of information literacy instruction, students should be able to:

  1. Differentiate between types of source materials (e.g., books, journal articles, websites, newspapers).
  2. Identify appropriate resources for their research needs.
  3. Define the peer review process.

3a: Source Types (SR code added)

3a is pretty straightforward! The assessment question is a grid differentiating between types of materials. This is a helpful graphic:

Types of Sources Group 1: Books are in-depth, detailed coverage of a topic and background information. Group 2 includes Scholarly journals, trade publications and magazines. Scholarly journals are up-to-date and highly specific for scholars and researchers. Trade publications are targeted towards professionals in a discipline or industry. Magazines are broad summaries of issues and topics for a general audience. Group 3: Newspapers are up-to-date national and regional information for a general audience Group 4: The internet provides a wide variety of information which should be evaluated carefully.

3b: Sources and Research Needs

This is about understanding what kinds of information different types of sources provide. It's a little bit source evaluation paired with understanding source types. A good way to present this might be to talk about their assignment, and then talk about what types of content might be the best to find what they need and the best places to find that content. Definitely take a look at the assessment - it will give you a good idea about what this SLO focuses on.

3c: Peer Review (SR code added)

This is about the "good and bad" of peer review. Good in that it is solid info. Bad in that it can be nearly outdated by the time it's published!

from UCSD

The Peer Review Process This process is in several steps. Step 1, develop the idea or hypothesis. Step 2, research and write. Step 3, finish the manuscript, which is your paper. Step 4, send your paper to the editor of the journal. Step 5, your paper is reviewed by 3-5 experts in the field. Step 6, the reviewers decide whether to accept the paper, send it back to you for revision, or reject it outright.

3b: Sources & Research Needs - BEAT Method

BEAT (background, evidence, argument, and think) can help you determine a source's usefulness as you do research, by giving you things to focus on based on your research needs.

  • B: background: Can this source be used to provide general information to explain the topic?
    • For example, the use of a Wikipedia page on the Pledge of Allegiance might be used to explain court cases related to the Pledge, as well as changes the Pledge has undergone.
  • E: evidence or example: Can this source be used as evidence or examples for your topic?
    • For a literature paper, this might be a poem you are analyzing. For a history paper, a historical document you are discussing. For a sociology paper, it might be the data from a study.
  • A: argument: Can this source be used to engage an argument?
    • For example, you might use an editorial from the New York Times on the value of higher education as a pro (or a con) source in your own paper. Don't forget that you need to look at BOTH sides of any argument, though!
  • T: think: Can the way this source analyzes an issue apply to how you think or analyze your own issue?
    • For example, you might use a research study’s methods, definitions, or conclusions on gentrification in Chicago to apply to neighborhoods in San Francisco.

(Adapted from "BEAM", UC Merced Library)


Often you'll have to combine several sources to get the best information for your paper. You might use a government document to provide background information and a scholarly article that analyses a study on your topic.

PROTIP: Make sure your sources are actually on your topic and written at the appropriate level for your paper. (A middle school project you found on the web is NOT a good source for a college paper!)

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