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Information Literacy Through Entrepreneurial Thinking: Activities for Teaching Across the Disciplines

Learning activities to support students in developing information literacy and research skills through entrepreneurial thinking

Information Literacy Through Entrepreneurial Thinking: Our Purpose

These learning activities are intended to support students in developing their information literacy and research skills through entrepreneurial thinking. Information literacy involves the complex skills and understandings needed when seeking, evaluating, selecting, and using information for a particular purpose. Information literacy is essential to virtually all aspects of research and inquiry.[1]

Entrepreneurial thinking draws on divergent thinking, as individuals explore, experiment, and consider problems and possible solutions from many angles, including those of individuals and groups that are likely to be invested in the problem or question at hand. An entrepreneurial mindset can help students embrace a creative, goal-driven approach to problem solving and find new and better solutions to global, local, and personal challenges.

Information literacy is key to entrepreneurial thinking and innovation across subject areas and professional fields. Whether working individually or collaboratively, learners use information sources to formulate and ask questions, to search for meaning, to evaluate and solve problems, and to generate new ideas. Information literacy is one of the most important skills needed by today's job seekers.[2] It very often involves creative problem solving and complex analysis based on information which is already available, however imperfect. Our activities will help students practice information literacy skills, increase their comfort with steps involved in source-based inquiry and research, and enhance their entrepreneurial mindsets by providing opportunities for them to consider new ways of thinking about research tasks.

Both entrepreneurial thinking and information literacy frequently require mindsets like persistence, creativity, curiosity, flexibility, and openness. Both also involve processes like critical thinking, experimentation, brainstorming, identifying relationships and patterns, problem posing, problem solving, framing problems and deploying solutions, deconstructing aspects of a problem or issue, uncovering hidden assumptions, perspective-taking, meaning making, and storytelling. With experience and practice, students will be able to approach a task which requires multiple processes with a mindset that helps them optimize their approach for success.

The activities in this resource involve mindsets and processes like those described above. This resource includes discussion prompts and interactive components that transfer across academic disciplines and programs, while also applying to everyday life contexts. The activities are designed to draw out and build on students' previous experiences and knowledge; to introduce new ways of approaching inquiry and source-based research; and to encourage engagement and shared skill development, ideally making research fun, interesting, and meaningful.

We hope you will use these ideas with your students and modify them for your own purposes as needed. If you find them useful, please let us know!

Michelle Kowalsky:

Andrea Baer:

[1] The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL, 2016) defines information literacy as “the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” (ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, Introduction)

[2] See Forster, Marc, ed. Information Literacy in the Workplace. London: Facet, 2017. [abstract] or Head, Alison J., Michele Van Hoeck, Jordan Eschler, and Sean Fullerton. "What information competencies matter in today’s workplace?" Library and Information Research 37, no. 114  (2013): 74-104.