Information Literacy and Cultural Context: Chinese English Language Learners’ Understandings of Information Authority

Emily Crist, Diana Popa

Abstract

Chinese international students are attending higher education institutions in the United States in ever-increasing numbers, and librarians must consider their cultural, sociopolitical, and linguistic backgrounds in information literacy instruction. This exploratory study examines how Chinese international students at a public American university describe, understand, and interpret information literacy concepts, such as authority, through qualitative vignettes and in-depth interviews. The findings of this study further the use of vignettes as a methodological tool in academic librarianship and help librarians resist one-size-fits-all information literacy instruction by addressing and building upon students’ cultural understandings and practices of information literacy that they bring into the classroom.

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