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Information Literacy

This is a learning guide designed to teach students about information literacy and why it matters.

Identifying Your Information Need

What is an information need? An information need is a gap in understanding or knowledge which a person seeks to fill with facts, data, or ideas from an information source. Information needs arise for many reasons. People seek information to satisfy a curiosity, to make a decision, to complete a task or assignment, and to solve problems. 

Information Needs: School Assignments

As a student at South College, you will have assignments that will require you to access and use information that is scholarly in content and quality.  Sometimes, the assignment will dictate the information need. Other times, you will be asked to develop your own topic. Here are some suggestions to help you as you develop a topic and define your research question.

Select a general topic or idea you will be interested in, and write about it engagingly for your readers. ​

If you are stuck for ideas to develop, browse various sources for inspiration:​

  • Browse your textbook​
  • Browse encyclopedias and general reference works​
  • Browse through lecture notes​
  • Brainstorm with your professors, classmates, and/or librarians​​

As you browse and brainstorm, write down interesting key words and concepts. These words will likely become search terms in your research. They help develop your idea into a focused topic and use research sources effectively.​​

After finding an initial idea, do background research to learn more about the subject area. This helps you explore the topic and develop the research question you will explore.​

Need a Topic for an Argumentative Essay?

Library Resources

Web Resources