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FYS 100 Libguide: HOME


This FYS 100 guide was created for students of the First Year Seminar course at Marshall University. Here, we'll discuss information literacy, it's importance to your journey as critical thinkers, and specific tools and resources you can use from MU Libraries.

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FYS 100 LibGuide by MU Libraries

The 5 Steps of Information Literacy

Determine what information is needed and why. 

How IDENTIFY is used in academics

How IDENTIFY is used in everyday life

Brainstorm connections and ideas for a project or paper Create a search strategy to locate reliable information
Craft a thesis statement or research question Explain to yourself or friends what you are looking for
Compile keywords and search terms Determine key factors 
Example: To write a persuasive essay about global warming, you focus on use of renewable energy and jot down a few key concepts to enter into Summon.  Example: to determine where to go to lunch, you decide you're in the mood for tacos, and talk with friends about what they want in a good taco, and make a list of things like location, importance of reviews, and cost.

Locating needed information effectively and efficiently. 

How FIND is used in academics

How FIND is used in everyday life

Use the library or library resources to locate information Use Google to find information
Search databases for academic and scholarly sources Talk with friends and/or family for advice or information
Locate information using advanced search strategies Discover information from the news or social media

Example: you enter your key concepts into Summon.

As you review results, you update and edit your key concepts based on what the literature reveals.

Instead of searching for renewable energy, you type renewable resource. You then select Environment Science from Summon's Discipline filter.

Example: After searching Google, you find a few taco places that meet your parameters

Critically examining found information for credibility, reliability, and usability. 

How EXAMINE is used in academics

How EXAMINE is used in everyday life

Explore multiple viewpoints within an argument Understand and acknowledge bias within media and beyond
Understand the purpose of different types of sources (case study versus review article, etc.) Explore multiple types of sources for varying viewpoints (a blog about patient surviving cancer versus a podcast episode featuring an oncologist)
Review the arguments for logic and efficient use of data, and scrutinize the evidence to ensure proper use of methodology Determine if the source answers your question or solves your problem 
Determine if the information adheres to your research goals and meets your audience needs. Distinguish between opinions and facts, and use them appropriately when supporting your stance
Example: After locating an article about alternative energy sources, you review the abstract and introduction to ensure the content of the article is actually relevant to your research needs (this is different than determining if a source simply agrees with your viewpoints, which could produce a biased essay) Example: After locating a taco place, you skim the reviews, taking into account whether or not the reviewer was focused on a subjective or objective issue (if they don't like cilantro, they won't like the fish tacos, but you like cilantro, so that review should not matter to you).

Incorporating the information you found for a specific end goal.

How EVALUATE is used in academics

How EVALUATE is used in everyday life

Determine the author's background and motivations, as well as the publisher or sponsor Determine who is providing or sharing the information, and decide why you should trust them
Look for the publication date, and the age of the data being shared, in order to seek out more current info if applicable. Look for a post date, or original content creator share date
Choose sources and information that adheres to your research goals and meets your audience's needs Discern between anyone saying anything, and someone with authority (expertise) saying something.

Example: Once you've selected and read a scholarly article, you should still evaluate it:

  • Does it meet your scope? Make sure that you're not cherry-picking information that suits your goals
  • Is it current? Do not use out-of-date information that is no longer relevant to the field of study.
  • Outliers: does the information provided directly contradict or dispute an established theory that has been proven by multiple other authors/sources? That could be a red flag.

Example: the only way to evaluate a taco place is to go to the taco place and experience it yourself.

  • What was the parking situation, was there a crowd, how was the wait staff, were the restrooms clean?
  • Did the guacamole cost extra, were the fish tacos better than anything you could have dreamed, were the churros authentic?

In both academic and everyday life cases:

Determine if information is relevant and reliable using MU Library's IF I APPLY Source Evaluation Checklist

Incorporating the information you found for a specific end goal and crediting the original source(s) of information

How USE is used in academics

How USE is used in everyday life

Provide accurate and complete citations, using paraphrases and direct quotes, based on the citation style your professor or publisher requires Give attributions to other people's ideas on social media
Understand what plagiarism is, and undergo habits to avoid it, seeking help when you need it Explain which viewpoints are your own, and which viewpoints are someone else's
Know the law: copyright and fair use guidelines will save you from litigation Be ethical: just because it is easy to copy+paste+share or steal ideas doesn't mean you should
Example: Write your essay, speech, or presentation by incorporating the outside sources with your own analysis, explaining how the sources met or contradicted your hypothesis, and how the sources connected or clashed with other research.  Example: Now that you've had tacos at the taco place, you can write your own review, or tell your friends and family what you experienced, or compare/contrast it with their experiences, or simply file the information away for a rainy day.