Skip to Main Content

Information & Academic Literacy

Year 3 BNRT & Year 2 Winter / Spring Terms PDBN

Attributes of Year 3 BNRT (full academic year) and Year 2 PDBN (winter / spring terms) competencies for students focus on intermediate level analysis of the knowledge, comprehension, and experience of applying their growing understanding and awareness.

Area Competency Attributes

Use a variety of research methods based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry

Strengthen ability to distinguish between qualitative and quantitative research methods; understand the respective value of both in inquiry

Identify when primary or secondary research is most relevant to research inquiry

  Create focused research questions through identifying key concepts using PICOT/PS frameworks or 5Ws

Begin to identify research questions arising from practice and/or reexamination of research evidence or gaps in disciplinary knowledge

Revise research questions as necessary based on the search results 

  Demonstrates the importance of seeking multiple and differing perspectives on a topic in order to gain a holistic understanding

Will seek and use a variety of sources and source types

Considers sources from a variety of disciplines beyond nursing, recognizing the value of other perspectives

In comparing source, identifies divergent and convergent perspectives on a topic


Use research evidence appropriately to make decisions and inform practice


Practices identifying and utilizes best research evidence, focusing on using highly synthesized sources

Strengthens skills in critical appraisal of research evidence


Identify information to direct the search process



Identify key concepts of a topic or research question

Conducts background research to learn about unfamiliar topics or concepts 

Plans a search strategy guided by assignment specifications, understanding that these are inclusion and exclusion criteria 


Identify producers of sources relevant to the information need 


Recognize there are multiple sources (scholars, organizations, individuals, industries, etc.), which may have produced relevant information on a topic

When instructed, will seek out a variety of sources; attempt to access sources, seeking support as needed


Recognize that information may be perceived and valued differently based on the format in which it is packaged


When directed and appropriate to the information need, will identify and access authoritative sources that are in formats other than journal articles

Begins to display appropriate skepticism when encountering web content, focusing less on superficial elements and more on the credibility of information  


Select an appropriate search tool for the information need with guidance


Strengthen competency in matching the search tool (databases, web, library, and a library catalogue) to the information need; experiment with using different tools.

Understand when it is appropriate to use the web as search tool

Select database(s) relevant to the information need; develops awareness of the usefulness of using different subject areas to address information need


Use appropriate search language relevant to the search tool and information need



Continues to practice using appropriate search language (keyword or free text) appropriate for the search tool (database vs. web)

Use key concepts as first keywords for searching; attempts alternative keywords based on search results

Utilize initial search results to scan for synonyms and alternate keywords for searching

Differentiate between the use of keyword searching vs. controlled vocabulary

  Conducts an effective and strategic search by applying search strategies

Illustrates increasing proficiency in database searching, combining keywords with Boolean operators AND and OR

Applies search strategies like truncation and/or phrase searching

Uses search limits/filters based on inclusion and exclusion criteria

Recognizes that first attempts at searching may be unsuccessful, starts to analyzes search to identify areas of improvement; seeks support when needed

Evaluate Assess the fit between an information source’s creation process and an information need

Strengthen competency in identifying the source type and format most relevant for information need

Use key elements such as author’s name, date of publication, and source type to understand the creation process

Identify markers of creation such as peer-review, pre/post publication, revisions, etc. as possible indicators of quality

Utilize sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, books and websites to gain background information on a topic


Evaluate sources for credibility using criteria such as accuracy, purpose and origin


Relies less on checklists for evaluation; displays increasing comfort assessing sources independently

Compare information from a variety of sources in order to evaluate trustworthiness; uses lateral reading for online content


Evaluates information for relevancy to the information need

Scans titles and abstracts for relevant information during source selection

Deepens competence in selecting sources that satisfy the research inquiry - focus shifts to finding the most relevant sources and not just those that appear in search results


Understand that certain tools and “markers of authority” can help determine credibility of sources

Use but not solely rely on "peer-review" when identifying credible sources

Describe the benefits and limitations of the peer-review process 

Utilizes research tools such a databases and scholarly journals in locating credible sources

  Examine the information need and intended use to help determine the most authoritative sources 

Examine the information need and intended use to help determine the most authoritative sources 

Critically examine “authorities” within the discipline of nursing - are “voices” missing?

Recognize the value of non-traditional authorities as credible sources


Recognize that scholarly discourse is an “ongoing conversation” where ideas are formed, debated and changed over time (ACRL, 2015)

Can trace the changes/ development of scholarship on a particular topic over time with guidance 

Summarize the changes in scholarly perspective on a particular topic over time


Understand their role as a contributor to a scholarly conversation; participate at an appropriate level

Participate in scholarship through online or in-class discussions, presentations, public presentations, written works, or undergraduate research, etc.