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Information & Academic Literacy

IL Competencies & Attributes

Similar to the new curriculum, information literacy includes specific competencies and attributes. ACRL's" Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education” (2015) has been adapted (with permission) in order to create a framework for information literacy development most relevant for our students. 

In order to identify the IL competencies and related attributes most relevant for nurses to include in this framework, the following resources were taken into account:

  • American Library Association’s "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Nursing" (2013),
  • Canadian Nurses Association “Entry-Level Competencies” (2015), and
  • CARNA’s Entry Level Competencies for the Registered Nurse (2019).


The ability of the student to demonstrate a competence and represent a standard of quality.  Similar to academic literacy, these abilities help nurses engage in life-long learning; participate in evidence-based practice; and communicate and collaborate effectively with clients, stakeholders, and other healthcare practitioners. 

IL Competencies are divided into the following areas:

  1. Ask - How can we know what we don't know? Where do research questions come from? What is the value of evidence?
  2. Define - What information is needed? Who produces it? How can it be accessed? 
  3. Search - How can you search effectively, efficiently and with self awareness? What search strategies support inquiry?
  4. Evaluate - How do you know if a source is trustworthy? How can you select the best sources for inquiry?
  5. Scholarship - How does knowledge change over time? How do you contribute to the "scholarly conversation"?


Within each competency, the Learning Commons team has outlined attributes that are qualities that represent stages or milestones in one’s development or growth within that competency. These attributes can be seen as skills that a student may exhibit, which highlight their growth along the continuum from basic comprehension and knowledge, intermediate application of that knowledge, analysis of old and new knowledge and information, and proficiency in evaluation and creation within the specific competency areas.

Mapping Competencies & Attributes

Key information literacy competencies and attributes of those competencies have been outlined in this section according to program year and level of proficiency along Bloom's taxonomy.