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Research, Analysis, Comprehension and Information Management project1

Ana Paula Cabral
Superior Polytechnic Institute Gaya, Portugal. Email: apcabral@dce.ua.pt

José Tavares,  José Bessa de Oliveira, Rita Carvalho, Cláudia Fernandes and Isabel Huet e Silva
University of Aveiro, Portugal. Email: tavares@dce.ua.pt; joliveira@dce.ua.pt; ritarc@dce.ua.pt; cfernandes@egi.ua.pt; iza@dce.ua.pt

Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, University of Crete, 22-25 September 2004

The "Research, Analysis, Comprehension and Information Management project" aims to help the students to activate their basic skills associated with the information management process, namely: topic analysis, information research and collection and information evaluation, organization and communication. The ten submodules proposed are the following: information management and new forms of literacy, library and internet research techniques, databases research, bibliographical management tools, report and paper writing, presentation and verbal exposition of contents, statistical data analysis tools, scientif papers and theses writing and time management. This project is divided in small submodules organized in a very flexible and dynamic structure to adapt itself to the real needs of the learner.

INTRODUCTION

There are already several programs related to higher education, which aim to promote in their participants competencies associated to the information and knowledge society (Johnston & Webber, 2003). These programs are gaining expression in countries like Australia (e.g. Australian Education Council, 1991; Committee to Advise the Australian Education Council, 1992; Council of Australian University Librarians, 2000), United States of America (e.g. American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy, 1989), and in Europe we can refer to the United Kingdom (e.g. Task Force for Information Skills, 1999).

In Portugal this kind of intervention programmes are still scarce, but we still can refer some intervention programmes associated with:

- the promotion of reading/comprehension and writing skills (Cabral, 2004);
- the development of thematic seminars near university lecturers who teach introductory programming courses (Huet et al, 2003; Huet & Tavares, 2003)
- the development of modules related to time and personal agenda management.

For a more detailed information of the activities you can see the S.P.A.S.H.E. report ("Strategies for Promoting Academic Success in Higher Education", 2003).

In this ideological line it has been developed evaluation standards for the subjects´ abilities related with the information literacy in several countries (Association of College and Research Library, 2000; Bruce, 1994, 1997; Doyle, 1992; Task Force for Information Skills, 1999; Rader, 1991). These evaluation standards involve a set of abilities such as:

  1. To determinate the extension and nature of the needed information;

  2. To access the needed information in an effective and efficient way;

  3. To evaluate the information and its sources in a critical way;

  4. To join the selected information in the knowledge of the individual and in their system of values;

  5. To understand some economic, legal and social aspects related with the use and access of information.

Learning to life and active citizenship requires abilities connected to the information literacy. Based on the collected information, individuals integrate it on previous knowledge. Furthermore, Nicholas and Williams (1998) in one critical review of Glister’s (1997) work point out some competencies, from which we detail:

- Competence to evaluate in one critical way the on-line information;
- Reading and comprehension skills to of information presented in a not conventional way- hypertext;
- Ability to collect and evaluate facts and opinions, in one ideal way without bias;
- Ability to search, especially in search engines in the internet.

There is a growing need for of promoting new abilities related to the information management process, as well as in the evaluation of the new technologies and ways of communication.

AIMS

With the development of the R.A.C.I.M., an innovative project in the area of the new technologies and new literacies, we aim to intervene in one integrated and active way in the basic skills of the information management process, namely in the following stages:

  1. Generic topic analysis;

  2. Information search and selection;

  3. Information evaluation;

  4. Information comprehension and application;

  5. Information organization

  6. Information communication.

It is also intended to develop the following generic competencies in the participants of the project:

  1. To recognize the effective needs for information;

  2. To know how to access information;

  3. To understand the information evaluation process;

  4. To know how to synthesize information in a concise and clear way;

  5. To be able to communicate the information.

In the following figure we can find the general scope of the project.

Fig. 1. Main aims, ideas and participants of the R.A.C.I.M. project.

PROJECT TASKS

Task 1: Diagnosis and intervention in the "Research for information" process

Through the development of this task we aim to achieve:

1) the identification and analysis of the information research process and its articulation with the information management, information society and the involved key-skills: survey questionnaires developed in previous projects; reflection reports on previous projects (done in cooperation by students, teachers, and tutors).

2) the development and preparation of Modules and workshops (Researching in the bibliographical catalogue of the UA’s DS and accessing the documents; On-line knowledge library usage; Scientific journals: ways to access the information; UA’s DS search engine: accessing the information and available services; Database searching).

3) the development of support materials and brochures concerning the information research topic and the developed modules and workshops.

4) the evaluation of the Modules and workshops: by the tutors and the participants (to contribute to the continuous improvement and future readjustments).

5) the support all the research process designed.

With this task we aim to compose survey questionnaires concerning the information research topic and develop workshops and intervention modules about the information research namely about:

1) researching in the bibliographical catalogue of the UA’s DS and accessing the documents;

2) using the on-line knowledge library;

3) accessing the information: scientific journals;

4) accessing the information and available services from the UA’s DS search engine;

5) searching information in databases;

We also aim to collect data about the participants and tutors, compose support materials and brochures with tips and promote reflection seminars about the information research process.

Task 2: Diagnosis and intervention on the process of "Analysis of the information"

Through the development of this task we aim to achieve:

1) the identification and analysis of the information process and its articulation with the information management, information society and the involved key-skills: survey questionnaires developed in previous projects; reflection reports on previous projects (done in cooperation by students, teachers and tutors).

2) the development and preparation of Modules and workshops (Management of the Bibliographical tools ; writing essays and reports; Statistical data analysis tools);

3) the development of support materials and brochures concerning the information research topic and the developed modules and workshops;

4) the evaluation of the modules and workshops: by the tutors and the participants (to contribute to the continuous improvement and future readjustments).

5) the support to all the research process designed.

With this task we aim to compose survey questionnaires associated with the analysis of the information process and develop workshops and intervention modules about the information research, namely about:

1) Bibliographic tools management;

2) How to write essays and reports;

3) Statistical data analysis tools;

We also aim to collect data about the participants and tutors, compose support materials and brochures with tips and promote reflection seminars about the information research process

Task 3: Diagnosis and intervention on the process of "comprehension of information"

Through the development of this task we aim to achieve:

1) the identification and analysis of the information comprehension process and its articulation with the information management, information society and the involved key-skills: survey questionnaires developed in previous projects; reflection reports on previous projects (done in cooperation by students, teachers, and tutors).

2) the development and preparation of Modules and workshops (Content oral presentation, the structure of a scientific work: how to write papers and theses); 3) the development of support materials and brochures concerning the information comprehension topic and the developed modules and workshops; 4) the evaluation of modules and workshops: by the tutors and the participants (to contribute to the continuous improvement and future readjustments).

5) the support to all the research process designed.

With this task we aim to compose survey questionnaires related to the comprehension of the information process and develop workshops and intervention modules about the information research, namely about:

1) Content oral presentation,

2) The structure of a scientific work: how to write papers and theses;

We also aim to collect data about the participants and tutors, compose support materials and brochures with tips and promote reflection seminars about the information research process

Task 4: Diagnosis and intervention on the information management process

Through the development of this task we aim to achieve:

1) the identification and analysis of the information management process and its articulation with the information management, information society and the involved key-skills: survey questionnaires developed in previous projects; reflection reports on previous projects (done in cooperation by students, teachers, and tutors).

2) the development and preparation of modules and workshops (Information management and new literacies, Time management (day and night time));

3) the development of support materials and brochures concerning the information comprehension topic and the developed modules and workshops; 4) the evaluation of the modules and workshops: by the tutors and the participants (to contribute to the continuous improvement and future readjustments).

5) the support to all the research process designed.

With this task we aim to compose survey questionnaires related to the comprehension of the information process and develop workshops and intervention modules about the information research, namely about:

1) Information management and new literacies;

2) Time management (day and night time),

3) Stress management;

We also aim to collect data about the participants and tutors, compose support materials and brochures with tips and promote reflection seminars about the information research process

PROJECT OUTCOMES

A successful training of "human resources" influences the economic, social and cultural development of society, namely the Portuguese society, where there is a lack of qualified resources in some areas of knowledge, mentioned as an important obstacle to the "society that learns" (Tavares, 1996).
Nowadays, the new literacies have one dimension never before attained due to the socio-cultural context in which we live in, namely concerning the technological progress.

Originally literacy was seen as the ability to read and write correctly but today this is not enough. This concept is closely associated with the technological and information abilities (e.g. researching in the internet in an efficient way, finding the requested information, synthesizing information in an accurate way. Qualifying and giving these abilities to the individuals will lead to more active and employable citizens.

In a general way, the results will be known in the following ways:
- Presentation and discussion of national and international papers in conferences, seminars and workshops;
- Publication of papers in journals and books;
- Development of workshops and conferences with students, and staff members;
- Discussion of the results through forum discussions in the internet;
- Activity reports (intermediate and final);
- Creation of the R.A.C.I.M.'s website;
- "Blackboard’s (learning management system) usage;
- Publication of books and support materials.

REFERENCES

American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy. (1989). Final Report. Chicago: American Library Association.

Association of College and Research Library. Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (2000). [Digital version] located in the American Library Association website
Online: http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlstandards/standards.pdf  (accessed: 25/02/04).

Australian Education Council. Young people's participation in post-compulsory education and training. (1991). The Finn report. [Digital version] located in the Australian Education Council website.
Online: http://www.detya.gov.au/nbeet/publications/pdf/91_14.pdf   (accessed:25/02/04).

Bawden, D. (2001). Progress in documentatio: Information and digital literacies a review of concepts. Journal of Documentation, 57(2), 218-259.

Bruce, C. (1994). Portrait of an information literate person. HERDSA, 16(3), 9-11.

Bruce, C. (1997). Seven faces of information literacy in higher education. [Digital version] located at the Queensland Faculty of Information technology website. Online: http://sky.fit.qut.edu.au/~bruce/inflit/faces/faces1.htm  (accessed 29/09/2003).

Cabral, A.P.; Tavares, J. (2002). Reading and writing skills in higher education: lecturers´ opinions and perceptions. Education-line.
Online: http://www.leeds.ac.uk.educol/documents/00002179.htm

Campbell, B.(1990). What is literacy? Acquiring and using literacy skills. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, 3, 149-152.

Committee to Advise The Australian Education Council. (1992). Putting general education to work: the key competencies report. The Mayer Report. [Digital version] located at the Department of Education website - Australian Government

Council of Australian University Librarians. (2001).Information literacy standards.[Digital version] located at the Council of Australian University Librarians website. Online: http://www.caul.edu.au/caul-doc/InfoLitStandards2001.doc  (accessed 25/02/2004).

Doyle, C. (1992).Outcome measures for informational literacy. Final report to the national forum on information literacy. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Claringhouse (ED351033).

Drew, S. (1998). Key skills in Higher Education: Background and rationale. Birmingham: Staff and Educational Development Association.

Glister, P. (1997). Digital literacy. New York: Wiley.

Gomes, A.; Tavares, J.; Azevedo, M. (2002).Sleep wake patterns and academic performance in university students. Education-line
Online: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002200.htm

Johnston, B.; Webber, S. (2003). Information literacy in higher education: A review and case study. Studies in Higher Education, 28(3), 335-352.

Joint, N. (2000). Information skills training in support of a joint electronic library in Glasgow: The GAELS project approach to library courseware development. Aslib Proceedings, 52, 301-312.

Nicholas, D.; Lliams, P. (1998). Review of Paul Glister Digital Literacy. Journal of Documentation, 54(3), 360-362.

Olsen, J.; Coons, B. Cornell University's information literacy program. In Mensching, G; Mensching T.(Eds.) (1989).Coping with information illiteracy: bibliographic instruction for the information age. Ann Arbor, Mich: Pierian Press, pp. 7-20.

Online: http://www.detya.gov.au/nbeet/publications/pdf/92_36.pdf  (accessed 25/02/2004).

Rader, H. (1991). Bibliographic instruction or information literacy. College and Research Libraries News, 51(1), 18-20.

Ramos, F.; Caixinha. H. (2000). Integrating ODL in a mixed environment for higher education - the experience of the University of Aveiro. In: Innocations In Higher Education, Helsinki – Finland, September 2000.

Spitzer, K.; Eisenberg, M.; Lowe, C. (1998).Information literacy: Essencial skills for the information age. Syracuse, NY: Information Resources Publications of Syracuse University.

Task Force for Information Skills. (1999). Information skills in Higher Education. London: The society of college national and university libraries.

Tavares, J. (2003).Formação e Inovação no Ensino Superior. Porto. Porto Editora

Tavares, J.; Cabral, A. P.; Huet e Silva, I; Carvalho, R.; Pereira, A.; Lopes, I.; Caixinha, H. (2004) Internet-based Learning Tools: Development and Learning Psychology. Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (2)1.
Online: http://www.iiisci.org/Journal/SCI/Contents.asp?var=

Tavares, J.; Pereira, A.; Gomes, A.A.; Cabral, A.P.; Neri, D.; Bessa, J. & Huet, I. (2002). Higher Education Study and Intervention Lab, Education-line
On-line: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00002289.htm

Tavares, J.; Santiago R. (Orgs). (2002). (In)Sucesso Académico no Ensino Superior. Porto. Porto Editora

Note:

  1. Project developed with the support of:

- “Development of Pedagogic Knowledge in Education and Training Systems” Research Unit

- “Strategies for Promoting Academic Success In Higher Education” Project  (S.P.A.S.H.E.): Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

“Higher Education Study And Intervention Lab” (H.E.S.I.L.) – Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian 

This document was added to the Education-line database on 22 September 2004