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Library - Information Literacy Module: Tutorial 1: Identify an information need

Information literacy for UJ students. Start with "1 Why Information Literacy" and end with "9 Writing & Referencing"

STEP 1: Identify an information need

Neo knows very little about his assignment topic.  He realises that he needs to know much more than what he currently knows about his topic to submit a satisfactory paper. This acknowledgement between what Neo knows about his topic and what he needs to know about his topic, is called an information need. In other words, Neo must overcome this gap in his knowledge about his assignment topic. 

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STEP 2: Asking questions

Neo can ask the following questions to help him identify his information need. 


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  • Why is the information needed? For a research paper, for a presentation, speech, report?
  • Who is the intended audience? A lecturer, his fellow students?
  • What type of information will answer the question? Factual, analytical, objective, subjective, current, historical?
  • What type of information source? An encyclopaedia? A book? A journal article?
  • How much information does Neo need? How long is his assignment? How far back does he need to do research?
  • Does he need current information only?
  • What does Neo already know about the topic?
  • Where does Neo need to look for the information he needs? Library? Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), Electronic databases?