Before I write a blog post on the lack of connection between vaccines and autism, I wanted to do a post on “information” literacy” so that people understand why getting their information on vaccines from a blog on whole foods is not an appropriate thing to do.
So.. what is information literacy? Well…
Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” (Source)
Putting succinctly, it’s a set of abilities to process what you read and hear appropriately.
The competency standards are:
- Determines the nature and extent of information needed
- Accesses the needed information effectively and efficiently
- Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system
- Uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
- Understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and accesses and uses information ethically and legally
The part of information literacy that I want to get into today is Standard 3, Performance Indicator 2 on this page:
The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.
a.) Examines and compares information from various sources in order to evaluate reliability, validity, accuracy, authority, timeliness, and point of view or bias
b.) Analyzes the structure and logic of supporting arguments or methods
c.) Recognizes prejudice, deception, or manipulation
d.) Recognizes the cultural, physical, or other context within which the information was created and understands the impact of context on interpreting the information
Why this particular passage? Because I’ve found that there are a lot of people who take whatever they read on the Internet as completely true or who go searching for things to cite that fit their actual viewpoint instead of searching for what is true and provable.
The example given in the reading comprehension thing I had to do for the college was of a student doing a paper on acne. They had to choose between a piece written by the American Medical Association, something written by the maker of Accutane, and a blog entry. The question was about which piece was a better choice based on the criteria in this performance objective. (Psst! The answer is the piece from the American Medical Association.)
So why am I bringing this up? Because parents have to sort out all the good information from the bad regarding their kids’ conditions. For example, parents need to know to dismiss it when people tell us something about autism that they learned from their neighbor’s girlfriend’s college roommates’ boyfriend’s sister’s nephew.
This post lays out the framework for some things I’ll be writing in the coming days so thanks for hanging in there with this. 🙂