Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Exploring information literacy practices in primary schools: A Pakistani case study - by Syeda Hina Shahid

Information literacy (IL) provides opportunities to those who want to be independent learners. The rapid growth in the availability of information has made it impossible to search relevant information sources without IL skills.

IL has been defined differently by different authors as: a set of skills and abilities, a process, and the adoption of appropriate information behaviour. Research supports introducing students to IL at an early age to make them independent learners while still young. IL literature has focused mostly on high school and university level students. Although there has been much development of IL models at school level, only a few are research based and their emphasis is on school education above the primary level.  There is a lack of local research, or even descriptive studies, at primary school level. Therefore, this study aims to explore IL practices in the primary schools of Lahore, Pakistan.

After considering different research approaches, the qualitative sequential multiple case studies approach was adopted. Data were collected from primary school teachers (interviews), children (focus groups), librarians (interviews).  Related documents (curricula, teacher guides, activity sheets etc.) were also collected. Children were also asked to fill in some sheets (designed or adapted) to measure their IL skills. Initial findings showed that private schools are doing better in terms of basic IL practice. However, in both sectors teachers were unaware of the concept. The analysis of the most recent school practice curriculum showed that IL can be practised mainly in English language and General Knowledge courses at primary level.

This study will propose a research-based IL model for the selected primary schools of Lahore, Pakistan. This baseline study will be a valuable contribution to local knowledge and an overall addition to school sector IL literature. The findings of the PhD will provide directions for  policy makers and identify concerns regarding the development and improvement of IL programs at primary school level in Pakistan.