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Library Graduate Attribute Toolkit

Guide to assessment examples to support teaching to achieve graduate attributes.

Knowledgeable and able to think critically and reflectively (Graduate Attribute 4)

Relates to Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework standards:

  • Critically evaluates information and the information seeking process.
    • Learning Outcomes:
      - assesses the usefulness and relevance of the information obtained
      - defines and applies criteria for evaluating information
      - reflects on the information seeking process and revises search strategies as necessary

  • Applies prior and new information to construct or create new understanding.
    • Learning Outcomes:
      - compares and integrates new understandings with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions, or other unique characteristics of the information
      - communicates knowledge and new understandings effectively


Analyse Information Sources:  Have students locate three sources—one an article published in a popular magazine, one an article in a refereed scholarly journal, one a web site—and have them analyse the sources in terms of language used, evidence presented for claims, qualifications of the author, and purpose. [1]

Compare Database and Internet Searching:   Provide students with a precise search statement, ask the students to run the search using a web search engine such as Google and a library subscription database. Present some representation of the search results and compare the findings. Was one source better than the other, if so why and how?  Justify the choice of databases. [2]

Evaluation of Source:  Use small groups to explore a resource (e.g. database, specific source). Give a presentation to the wider group on their use, and advantages / disadvantages. [3]

Examine Coverage of a Controversial Issue:  Examine the treatment of a controversial issue in several sources [newspapers, scholarly journals, books, magazines, websites and journals from different disciplines, etc.]. For each source, note the point of view and analyse coverage for vested interest, manipulation, or misinformation. Write a paper that presents a balanced point of view on the issue or ask the students to take a position based on the information. [1]

Popular vs Scholarly:  Provide students with a popular and a scholarly article on the same topic. (Or, alternatively, have students locate two articles on their own). Or find a short article in a popular magazine and also the original research on which the article was based. Compare the 2 articles for content, style, bias, audience etc. Critique the popular article for its accuracy in reporting the research. [1]

Web Perspectives and Internet search:   Use the Internet to find material that represents a variety of perspectives on a topic, then develop an interpretation of it. Give the students a set of Web pages to look at. Have them note any reasons why these pages are, or are not appropriate for university level student research or for in-class use.  [1]


Comparing Print and Web Resources:  In groups of 3-5, have students locate and examine print and web resources on the same topic (books, articles, web sites) to determine: indicators of quality in each item; where exactly they found those indicators; the appropriate use for each item. Have them report their findings to the class after the class has had a chance to also evaluate the sites. [1]

Database Search:   Provide a precise statement of the search topic, a list of keywords or thesaurus terms (as appropriate), and an outline of search logic. Justify the choice of databases. Carry out the search. Find a specified number of references and write a short explanation on why the particular reference is relevant to the search topic. [3]

Journal analysis and Contrast Journal Articles:  Analyse the content, style and audience of 3 journals in a given discipline. This helps to clarify the differences between popular and scholarly journals.   Use a database to locate two articles which present differing viewpoints (scholarly/popular; conservative/liberal). [3]
Read several articles which appear to address the same question but reach different conclusions and reflect differing viewpoints. Account for the differences by examining the methods used, the experimental design, and the interpretation of the results. [Lecturer would select the articles]. Identify facts and opinions in each article. Verify facts to the extent possible. Decide which article does a better job of supporting opinions with facts. [1]

Popular Magazine Article Sources:  Examine a popular magazine article for the sources of information that were used. Search for sources that could be used to make it a more academic paper. [3]

Research Log:  Keep a record of library research: methodology, sources consulted, keywords or headings searched, noting both successes and failures. Instructor can provide a sample entry to guide students in the structure. Require that this be turned in throughout the semester, and with the final research project. [4]

Web Evaluation:   Evaluate a website based on specific criteria.  Have the students find a web page or site of interest to them, or one that is appropriate to a project they are working on. Have them cite this page using a style manual and write 2-3 paragraphs evaluating the site they have chosen. You might have them include a print copy of the first page of the Web site. As an additional part of the assignment, you might have them present a log of the search strategy that they used to locate the site. [2]


Convert a Newspaper Article to a Scholarly Article:   Ask students to locate a newspaper article of interest. Their task is to convert that newspaper article into a scholarly piece - using other information sources (and writing style). [3]

Double Entry Journal:  Keep a diary throughout the semester, which shows how and what information you collected for an assignment or project. In a parallel column to this information, include reflective comments about your experience of gathering and using information. [3]

Look Behind the Book:  Examine the credibility of a major monograph in the field. Who wrote it? What are the author's credentials? What is the point of view of the book? Find three reviews of it and compare them. Suggest comparable works (with reasons). [2]

Primary & Secondary Sources:  Use bibliographies, guides to the literature and the Web to find primary sources on an issue or historical period. Then, compare and contrast the treatment in primary sources with the treatment in secondary sources including textbooks. [3]
Provide the class with primary sources that recount an event that is open to more than one interpretation. Then have students locate and critique secondary source explanations of that event. Have students examine differences in secondary sources and relate these to their own interpretation of the available evidence. (Students are often surprised to find secondary sources tell the same story differently.) [1]

Statistics:  Choose a topic and locate an article containing statistics. Locate the primary source of the statistics and examine how they were used in the article. State if the statistics were interpreted correctly. [3]