Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Exploring behaviour in the online environment: student perceptions of information literacy

By Janice Smith and Martin Oliver


The aim of this paper is to show how information literacy can be conceptualised as a key learning process related to discipline and academic maturity, rather than as a generic skill. Results of a small-scale study including questionnaires and observation of student behaviour are reported and analysed in relation to Bruces 'seven faces of information literacy' framework. The findings illustrate that information literacy is a highly situated practice that remains undeveloped through mandatory schooling. Some methodological issues are considered in relation to researching information literacy, including the limits of the Bruce model as a framework for analysis. We also show how decontextualised courses can foreground and privilege certain behaviours that are beneficial but that developing higher-level information literate attitudes is likely to be an iterative and contextualised process

Topics: LB Theory and practice of education, LC1022 - 1022.25 Computer-assisted Education
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0968776042000339790
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). A guide for learning technologists, e-learning series No 4 (York, LTSN Generic Centre). Available online at: (accessed 29
  2. (2000). Association of College and Research Libraries doi
  3. (1994). The limits of competence (Buckingham,
  4. (2001). Academic tribes and territories (2nd edn)
  5. (2002). The Big Blue: final report. Available online at: bigblue/finalreportful.html (accessed 21
  6. (2002). Aligning the curriculum to promote good learning, paper presented at the Imaginative Curriculum Symposium. Available online at: (accessed 12
  7. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy (Adelaide,
  8. (2002). The evolving landscape of learning technology, doi
  9. (2002). Systematising learning and research information, doi
  10. (2003). Information literacy but at what level?, in:
  11. (2003). UK academics’ conceptions of the Information Literate University (ILU): emerging findings, paper presented at the SRHE conference,
  12. (2004). Academic use of digital resources: disciplinary differences and the issue of progression,
  13. (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development doi
  14. (1991). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation (Cambridge, doi
  15. (2001). Have I learnt it?’ Evaluating skills for resource-based study using electronic resources, doi
  16. (2002). Electronic information resources in undergraduate education: an exploratory study of opportunities for student learning and independence, doi
  17. (2003). Attitudes of academics to the library’s role in information literacy education, in:
  18. (2000). Skills and preferences: learning from the Nintendo generation, doi
  19. (2003). Rethinking the reuse of electronic resources: contexts, power and information literacy,
  20. (2000). User behaviour monitoring and evaluation framework
  21. (2003). Profiling and understanding student information behaviour: methodologies and meaning, doi
  22. (1999). Information skills in higher education: a SCONUL position paper doi
  23. (2002). Information science student IT experience and attitude toward computers: results of a five year longitudinal study, doi
  24. (2002). From independent learning to collaborative learning: new communities of practice in open, distance and distributed learning, doi
  25. (2003). Information literacy in Europe: a literature review, doi
  26. (2004). Available online at: (accessed 21
  27. (2004). The Web and information literacy: scaffolding the use of web sources in a project-based curriculum, doi
  28. (2000). Information literacy: new perspectives and implications, doi
  29. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity (Cambridge, doi
  30. (1999). Uncertainty in information seeking: final report to the British Library Research and Innovation Centre. Available online at: (accessed 29

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.