Research supervisors and information literacy

Added by Stephane Goldstein on 19 October 2011 14:00

The ability of researchers to handle information is of vital importance. Many individuals have become adept at developing approaches and using innovative technologies to make most of the information environment, but others rather less so. Questions about how researchers develop appropriate skills, the support they receive, the training opportunities provided for them, and the take-up of such opportunities are thus highly pertinent.

Research supervisors can play a crucial role in the effective imparting of relevant skills, knowledge and understanding. But in reality, they often are not able, well-equipped or even predisposed to play such a role. RIN’s Mind the Skills Gap report pointed to the “the widespread perception that some research supervisors do not recognise the need for the types of training on offer to ‘their’ postgraduate students. Some supervisors are viewed by library and information specialists as a ‘lost generation’, overtaken by advances in research information, and not fully aware of the implications of some of these changes” . In the context of the necessary development of enabling improved information literacy, the place of research supervisors is one that is thus worthy of investigation.

In this vein, the RIN has published the results of a study, undertaken between January and July 2011, investigating the place and role of PhD supervisors in the drive to ensure that research students possess the necessary level of information literacy to pursue their careers successfully in academia and beyond. The work was undertaken on behalf of RIN and the Working Group on Information Handling by a partnership between Curtis+Cartwright Consulting and Cardiff University.

The report, along with supporting information and underlying data, can be found here.

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