The Open University

Information Literacy Levels Framework

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Masters
Understand the information landscape
Be able to identify a limited number of key sources of information in the subject area or context
Have experienced using a limited number of formats of information (for example, books, journals, websites), as appropriate to the course
e.g. Introduction to ejournals
Be able to articulate the key characteristics of different information types (e.g. print / electronic, primary / secondary, freely available / subscriber only / invisible web) as relevant to the subject or context
Be able to identify a range of key sources of information in the subject area
Have experienced using a range of formats of information (e.g. bibliographic records, full text, abstracts)
Use knowledge of key resources and their characteristics to independently select appropriate resources for the task as relevant to the subject or context
e.g. Finding out about databases
Be able to select and use a wide range of sources appropriate to the discipline, from the Library and beyond
e.g. Introduction to British Standards Online
Use knowledge of resources and their characteristics to independently select appropriate resources for the task
Be aware of sources of current information for keeping up to date and able to select and use those most appropriate to needs
Be able to work independently to attain an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of your subject alongside a broader contextual knowledge
Be able to use a comprehensive range of sources in any media, including appropriate sources of specialised information (e.g. archives, data sets, special collections, colleagues and contacts in research networks)
Understand how research information is generated and disseminated
Have a critical and systematic approach to keeping up to date using the most appropriate tools and resources (e.g. RSS, mailing lists)
Plan and carry out a search
Be able to identify the ‘knowledge gap’ and what information is needed to fill it
Be able to determine appropriate keywords including synonyms
Know how to adapt a search (for example, broadening or narrowing by adding or removing keywords, or using different ones)
Be able to plan and carry out a search in a database on a pre-defined topic using pre-defined resources
Be able to find an article or book from a reference
e.g. Find a journal article from a reference
Be familiar with the general principles of effective searching
e.g. Using Library Databases
Be able to recognise common search features across different databases and the web
Be able to use a range of database functionality (e.g. truncation, phrase searching, date limits, combining search terms) within a single database
Be able to independently carry out a simple subject search within a single database
Be able to use judgement to appropriately adapt a search, including the decision to use a new database
Be able to interpret database results (e.g. bibliographic or full text), and use results functionality (e.g. sorting, saving, exporting)
Be able to identify and frame problems or research questions and to select appropriate information to address these
Be able to use search techniques and common search functions with confidence
Be able to search familiar and unfamiliar sources independently and confidently, refining the search as needed (e.g. broadening and narrowing)
Be able to define clearly the scope of a research question and have developed relevant criteria to filter large quantities of information
Be able to search independently with confidence and fluency across information sources in any medium (e.g. print, electronic)
Understand how Library databases work (e.g. fields, records, indexing) and be able to apply this knowledge to improve searches
Be able to independently conduct a thorough search of the literature
Be able to make effective use of research outputs (e.g. reports, conference proceedings, journal articles)
Understand the concept of citation searching and use it effectively to retrieve information
Critically evaluate information
Be familiar with and begin to apply appropriate quality criteria to evaluate pre-defined information
e.g. Quick evaluation of websites
Be able to use appropriate quality criteria in a broad sense to carry out initial filtering of material from searches
Be able to use appropriate quality criteria to evaluate a range of resources (e.g. books, articles, websites) effectively
e.g. Evaluating the quality of information
Be able to use appropriate quality criteria to filter results
Apply appropriate quality criteria to critically evaluate information from any source to determine authority, bias, etc, which sometimes may be subtle to detect
Be able to use appropriate quality criteria to filter results, and also to focus on the most relevant information within documents
Apply critical appraisal skills, including judgements on reliability and validity, to own work and the work of others
Understand the value of peer reviewed sources whilst maintaining a critical stance
Manage and communicate your results
Know what is meant by plagiarism
Know what a reference is, the information required to create a reference, and that references can be created in different styles
e.g. Unpicking a reference
Be aware of the need to accurately record search results
Be able to select appropriate references to produce a reference list and in-text citations as required for course assignments
Be able to produce an accurate list of references for common sources using the appropriate style
Be able to record search results accurately
Be able to accurately and appropriately refer to the thoughts and ideas of others in your work
Be aware of the range of tools and techniques for managing and exporting references (e.g. card index, Refworks) and able to select and use as appropriate
e.g. Refworks
Be able to use a suitable method for managing a large volume of information
Be able to synthesise information from a range of diverse materials on complex subjects
Be able to write a comprehensive review of the literature in your subject
Be able to share and communicate information using appropriate online tools (e.g. research networks, social bookmarking, blogging)
Be aware of the ethical and legal requirements surrounding the use and reuse of information and know where to seek advice
Be able to construct a major bibliography and reference a large range of materials (e.g. using bibliographic management tools)

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