Take Inventory of Your Understanding

Information Literacy Module VI: Preparing to Use Information Effectively

Did you feel confident and knowledgeable as you explained your topic? If not, begin searching for new sources to fill the holes in your understanding. Since you know where the holes are, you’ll be able to used more refined search terms to identify just the right sources for your needs.

Continue the research process up to this point until you feel confident that you understand your topic sufficiently and can answer your research questions with confidence.

Guiding Your Research

Read the following descriptions, and decide which one best describes your level of confidence:

Level 1: I have no idea what I’m talking about. I have a handful of sources, but many of them seem off topic. I can’t be sure, though, because I haven’t read any of them very carefully yet. I’d better read what I have and then regroup to find more and better sources.

Level 2: I think the sources I have are good, but I don’t have enough of them to meet the requirements of the assignment. I also need to read my sources more carefully in order to get a better understanding of my topic.

Level 3: I’m really learning a lot about my topic; however, I was pretty uncomfortable when my listener asked me questions. I have to admit that there are still some holes in my understanding. I’d better do a little more research and reading.

Level 4: I know a lot about my topic, but I’m having a hard time pulling all of my information together and coming to a central conclusion about it. Maybe I should spend some more time rereading and thinking about the information I have.

Level 5: Wow! I nailed that! I know enough about my topic to discuss it confidently, I’ve come to a solid conclusion in response to my research question, and I’m able to support it with what I learned in my research.

If you gave yourself anything less than a five, keep working!


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