This project investigated the effectiveness of approaches and strategies used by a teacher and a school librarian to develop secondary school pupils’ information literacy.

The teacher and librarian worked with a small group of Support for Learning students, with moderate but non-specific learning difficulties, who exemplify the underdeveloped information literacy seen in many students in any mixed ability class.

The findings showed that:

  • The problems students encountered were in making connections between the information skills they were being taught and how to use these skills to build their subject knowledge.
  • The major challenge for the teacher and librarian was their realisation of the complex nature of information literacy (described by the teacher as ‘tangled spaghetti’ of skills, decision-making, cognitive and affective elements)
  • The problems students encountered were in making connections between the information skills they were taught and how to use these skills to build their subject knowledge.
  • Teaching information  literacy as a sequential series of steps and skills is problematic
  • The development of information literacy in schools requires a more enquiry-focused approach; and greater dialogue, reflection and time commitment by teachers as well as school librarians.

Read more in our report “Untangling Spaghetti? The Complexity of Developing Information Literacy in Secondary School Students”, available via the Scottish Government website.

Project Team

Professor Dorothy Williams

Caroline Wavell