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Research Guides

POLS 681 - Library Orientation for POLS Instructors (Spring 2018)

Learning Outcomes, Library Research Skills and Information Literacy

The American Association of College & Universities (AAC&U) created LEAP, a "campaign is organized around a robust set of "Essential Learning Outcomes" -- all of which are best developed by a contemporary liberal education."  They developed a set of learning outcomes and rubrics that are widely used in in US institutions of higher education.

AAC&U also published a report by George Kuh that has been instrumental in identifying high impact educational practices in the classroom and in the curriculum.

Political Science Research Competency Guidelines (from the American Library Association)

Standard One: Determine the nature and extent of the needed information.

  1. Defines and articulates the need for information.
  2. Identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
  3. Considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
  4. Reevaluates the nature and extent of the needed information.

Standard Two: Access needed information effectively and efficiently.

  1. Selects the most appropriate information retrieval systems for accessing the needed information.
  2. Constructs and implements effectively-designed search strategies.
  3. Retrieves information online or in person using a variety of methods.
  4. Refines the search strategy if necessary.
  5. Extracts, records, and manages the information and its sources.

Standard Three: Evaluate information and sources critically, incorporating selected information into knowledgebase and value system.

  1. Summarizes the main ideas to be extracted from the information gathered.
  2. Articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating the information and its sources.
  3. Synthesizes main ideas to construct new concepts.
  4. Compares new knowledge with prior knowledge to determine the value added, contradictions or other unique characteristics of the information.
  5. Determines whether the new knowledge has an impact on the individual’s value system and takes steps to reconcile differences.
  6. Validates understanding and interpretation of the information through discourse with other individuals, subject-area experts, and/or practitioners.
  7. Determines whether the initial query should be revised.

Standard Four: Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.

  1. Applies new and prior information to the planning and creation of a particular product or presentation.
  2. Revises the development process for the product or presentation.
  3. Communicates the product or presentation effectively to others.

Standard Five: Understand many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information; access and use information ethically and legally.

  1. Understands many of the ethical, socio-economic, legal, and political issues surrounding information and information technology.
  2. Follows laws, regulations, institutional policies, and etiquette related to access and use of information resources.
  3. Acknowledges use of information sources in communication product or performance.

ACRL Law and Political Science Section Education Task Force (2009), “Political science research competency guidelines”, College & Research Libraries News, Vol. 70 No. 1, pp. 38-51. Accessed:

Additional source that may help in development or class learning outcomes or assignments: