I follow the Librarians forum on the ECIS moodle, where I read with great interest a recent post by Teacher – Librarian Pia Alliende, in which she shares the recently published (January 2016)  Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education published by the US Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. She writes about the document that “…it revises the more traditional definition of information literacy and I see on it all of the MYP ATL skills, and not just one of the 5 approaches to learning (Research). The framework is based on essential concepts and questions drawn by the work of Wiggins and McTighe (Understanding by Design, 2004)”.

I have just been thinking about the  Middle Years Program  Approaches to Learning skill clusters with a colleague, and I have been researching how the Approaches to Learning  are developing in the other IB programs.  This ACRL document will be a great help in discussions, and curriculum development.

“The Framework is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions. The six concepts that anchor the frames are presented alphabetically:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration

Neither the knowledge practices nor the dispositions that support each concept are intended to prescribe what local institutions should do in using the Framework; each library and its partners on campus will need to deploy these frames to best fit their own situation, including designing learning outcomes. For the same reason, these lists should not be considered exhaustive.” (ACRL, Introduction, parr. 2)

I will reproduce here one of the concepts, and it’s knowledge practices and dispositions, with the hope that they will so enthuse you that you will click on the link, read the whole document, download it, and refer to it often.

Research as Inquiry

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.

Experts see inquiry as a process that focuses on problems or questions in a discipline or between disciplines that are open or unresolved. Experts recognize the collaborative effort within a discipline to extend the knowledge in that field. Many times, this process includes points of disagreement where debate and dialogue work to deepen the conversations around knowledge. This process of inquiry extends beyond the academic world to the community at large, and the process of inquiry may focus upon personal, professional, or societal needs. The spectrum of inquiry ranges from asking simple questions that depend upon basic recapitulation of knowledge to increasingly sophisticated abilities to refine research questions, use more advanced research methods, and explore more diverse disciplinary perspectives. Novice learners acquire strategic perspectives on inquiry and a greater repertoire of investigative methods.

Knowledge Practices

Learners who are developing their information literate abilities

  • formulate questions for research based on information gaps or on re-examination of existing, possibly conflicting, information;
  • determine an appropriate scope of investigation;
  • deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones, limiting the scope of investigations;
  • use various research methods, based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry;
  • monitor gathered information and assess for gaps or weaknesses;
  • organize information in meaningful ways;
  • synthesize ideas gathered from multiple sources;
  • draw reasonable conclusions based on the analysis and interpretation of information.


Learners who are developing their information literate abilities

  • consider research as open-ended exploration and engagement with information;
  • appreciate that a question may appear to be simple but still disruptive and important to research;
  • value intellectual curiosity in developing questions and learning new investigative methods;
  • maintain an open mind and a critical stance;
  • value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility and recognize that ambiguity can benefit the research process;
  • seek multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment;
  • seek appropriate help when needed;
  • follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information;
  • demonstrate intellectual humility (i.e., recognize their own intellectual or experiential limitations).