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Deconstructing information literacy discourse: Peeling back the layers in higher education

Hicks, A; Lloyd, A; (2020) Deconstructing information literacy discourse: Peeling back the layers in higher education. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science 10.1177/0961000620966027. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The discourses of information literacy practice create epistemological assumptions about how the practice should happen, who should be responsible and under what conditions instruction should be given. This paper employs a discourse analysis method (Potter, 2008) to identify discourses of information literacy and the learner from within higher education focused professional texts. Texts analysed include 4 recent English-language models of information literacy and 16 textbooks. Analysis suggests that within higher education, information literacy is shaped by 2 conflicting narratives. The outward facing narrative positions information literacy as an empowering practice that equips learners with the knowledge and skills that they need within complex and fast-paced information environments. The inward facing narrative positions learners as incompetent or as lacking the ability to operate within higher education. This deficit perception consequently threatens the sustainability of information literacy practice by reframing empowerment as a process of top-down behaviour modification. This paper represents the first in a research programme that interrogates the epistemological premises and discourses of information literacy within higher education.

Type: Article
Title: Deconstructing information literacy discourse: Peeling back the layers in higher education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0961000620966027
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/0961000620966027
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: information literacy, discourse analysis, positioning theory, higher education, information practices
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Information Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10111971
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