The aim of this research was to examine teachers’ current practice, attitudes and skills in relation to the effective use of research outputs in their professional practice. It focuses on teachers’ information literacy within the context of two associated factors, access and attitudes.

The evidence suggested that teachers felt reasonably confident about seeking general information, though their confidence was likely to be restricted to their knowledge of the relatively narrow range of sources they use more frequently. They tended to see the process of seeking and evaluating research information as more of a challenge, and confidence levels were lower in the primary and nursery sectors than in the secondary sector. Although they expressed some uncertainty about search strategies, teachers generally felt least confident in the area of evaluating and using (organising, synthesising, communicating) research outputs and, indeed, information generally.

The findings raised questions about teachers as information literacy role models for their students:

• teachers’ own confidence in finding and using information can be a problem;

• they tend to use a relatively narrow range of information sources, and they rely heavily on informal people-based information sources;

• their use of research information is affected by limited time and accessibility;

• teachers want research information to be presented in a format that is easily digested.

Read the report (PDF 3Mb)


Williams, D and Coles, L. Teachers’ approaches to finding and using research evidence: an information literacy perspective.  Educational Research, 49 (2), June 2007, pp185-206.

Williams, D and Coles, L.  Evidence-based practice in teaching: an information perspectiveJournal of Documentation, 63 (6), 2007, pp 812-835.

Project Team

Professor Dorothy Williams

Louisa Coles