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Information & Academic Literacy

Year 4 BNRT & Year 3 PDBN

Attributes of competencies for Year 4 BNRT and Year 3 PDBN students focus on proficiency in evaluation and creation, building on knowledge and skills acquired in Years 1,2 and 3. 

Area Competency Attributes
Ask Use a variety of research methods based on need, circumstance, and type of inquiry

Identifies and uses the research type most relevant to inquiry

Identifies and uses the research instruments most relevant to inquiry

Identifies when primary or secondary research is most relevant to inquiry

  Formulate increasingly complex research questions through identifying key concepts using PICOT/PS frameworks or 5Ws

Identifies 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 


Actively “seek multiple and differing perspectives” (ACRL, 2015) during inquiry in order to gain a holistic understanding of a topic

Will seek and use a variety of sources and source types

Will seek and use sources representing diverse and competing perspectives 

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

  Use research evidence appropriately to make decisions and inform practice

Identifies best research evidence to make decisions and inform practice; focusing on highly synthesized sources and critical appraisal processes

Develops understanding of how changes can be implemented in practice using 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 inclusion and exclusion criteria, incorporating assignment specifications and any other criteria necessary for identifying relevant evidence; applies during and after the search


Identify producers of sources relevant to the information need 


After initial searching, determines the availability of information; makes decisions on broadening the search to include variety of sources

Can identify how to find and access a variety of sources


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

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

Displays 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


Utilize multiple search tools (databases, web, library, and a library catalogue) to fulfill the information need.

Select database(s) relevant to the information need; incorporates different subject areas


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

Begins to practice using controlled vocabularies (e.g., MeSH) in databases in order to expand search

  Conducts an effective and strategic search by applying search strategies

Illustrates increasing proficiency in database searching, combining keywords with Boolean operators AND and OR; constructs more complex searches

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, analyzes search to identify areas of improvement, persists; seeks support when needed

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

Identify 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

Selects sources that help answer research question, deepen understanding and supports a thesis

Understands that relevancy isn’t synonymous with agreement; starts to incorporate  sources that will challenge ideas


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

Use research tools and markers of authority to determine the credibility of sources, understanding the elements that might “temper this credibility” (ACRL, 2015)

  Determine authority by evaluating the context of the information need and use; will seek out appropriate authoritative source types

Incorporate traditional and non-traditional authorities appropriate for the information need 


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

Critically examine the changes in scholarly perspectives on a particular topic over time; recognize and summarize “scholarly disagreement” on a topic


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.