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Information Literacy Tutorial: B. Defining an Information Need

A module-based information literacy tutorial that addresses each stage of the research process, including selecting a topic, identifying information needs, selecting sources, locating information, evaluating information, and citing sources.


Defining an Information Need

 Defining an Information Need 

 When one wants to answer a question, it is useful to start by defining one's information need. Make sure that you know exactly what you need to do before you try to find appropriate information. Even if the lecturer has assigned your topic, it is still your responsibility to define your response to the task.

Ask yourself a few questions to save time on the preparation for an assignment. These questions may include some or all of the following: 

  • Do I know anything about my assigned topic?
  • Do I understand the instructions given by the lecturer?
  • Does the assignment question ask me for a personal opinion of the subject?
  • Am I expected to use research material to fulfill the task requirements?
  • What type of information do I need?
  • Should I use online, multimedia and print resources?
  • How much information do I really need, i.e. is it a ten minute presentation or a five page assignment?
  • Which format must be used to deliver the assignment?






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