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Information literacy focus of new book by vice chancellor

June 14, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — With a vast amount of information available with just a few clicks of a mouse, finding accurate support for a research project can be a daunting task.

Mark Canada, Indiana University Kokomo executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, wants to make that process less stressful, with publication of an information literacy textbook co-authored with a former colleague.

Introduction to Information Literacy for Students, written in partnership with Michael C. Alewine, outreach/distance education library at University of North Carolina at Pembroke, guides students through a seven-step research method, from thinking like a detective and asking a compelling question, through searching for answers, exploring and evaluating sources, and mining them for relevant, accurate information.

“This book shows students how to anchor their conclusions in facts and sound interpretations, rather than just what feels right,” said Canada, who taught research with Alewine when he was a professor of English at UNC Pembroke. The book grew from the several years the two collaborated to lead students through intensive research.

“Because we had that experience with teaching research and composition, we had a good idea of things students need to know, and the challenges they face,” Canada said. “One thing that makes this book strong is it comes from our experience teaching real students real research. It speaks to students in a relevant way.”

The topic is timely in what some are calling a “post-truth era,” in which debate is framed mainly by emotional appeals, regardless of solid, credible facts. The book gives students tools to evaluate sources for credibility, based on the author’s expertise, among other factors.

“This is the kind of thing we as academics take for granted, that scholars have earned their position as experts because they have advanced degrees, and have written peer-reviewed articles and books,” he said. “We want students to realize when you are looking for a source, everyone’s opinion is equal, but their conclusions and facts are not equal, because some people are better informed. We want students to understand the importance of facts and sound information.”

Introduction to Information Literacy for Students was published April 17 by WILEY Blackwell. It is available as a hardback book and as an e-book.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 06/14/2017