Steps in the Process

The process here outlined is intended to help library faculty within CUNY develop relationships with their counterparts in the disciplines that lead to new opportunities for the curricular integration of information literacy.

Step 1. Identify a discipline on your campus you might be able to work with.

The goal of this process is to eventually work with each department, major, or program on your campus, but you have to start somewhere. Think about which departments you have the best relationships with and look to partner with the one you might find the most success with.

Step 2. Contact the Chair of the discipline to see if he or she would be open to setting up a focus group.

First, try to find time to talk personally with the department chair, in an informal setting if possible, to let him or her know about the work you’re undertaking. If the chair expresses interest, follow up with an email. A template can be found in the documents section of this site.

Resources for this step: Generic Outreach Letter to Disciplinary Faculty/Chair (download .docx file here)

 Step 3. Develop questions for focus group.

LILAC has developed a set of potential questions, but every campus situation is different. The information literacy specialist and library departmental liaison will need to think through what questions will work best for the department with whom their working. Questions will need to be designed to elicit conversation around three topics: Academic, Workplace, and Everyday life situations that call for information use and habits of mind that acquired through disciplinary education. The matrices can be used as a guide for developing questions.

Resources for this step: Prompts to help you start developing questions (download .docx file here), Notes on developing questions (download .pdf file here), Potential (non discipline-specific) focus group interview questions (download .docx file here), Questions worksheet (download .docx file here), Potential focus group questions – theatre

Step 4. Convene focus groups.

We believe that at least three meetings will be needed to arrive at a clear sense of disciplinary expectations for their students information behaviors. Every situation will vary, however.

Step 5. Process focus group data.

You will need time to process the focus group conversations into a form that can be used. Transcription of the conversations may be helpful.

Step 6. Develop outcomes matrices.

Through an analysis of the focus group conversation, librarians should be able to construct an initial set of matrices that articulate disciplinary information behavior outcomes as articulated by the focus group participants.

Resources for this step: General Matrix Example and discussionBlank template (download .pdf file here), Sample information literacy guidelines – theatre (download .pdf file here)

Step 7. Deliver matrices to discipline; develop and revise matrices as needed.

Once a picture has been painted of the information literacy expectations disciplinary faculty have articulated through the focus groups, the completed matrices can be sent to the department for review. It is likely that the focus group participants will only represent a portion of the views held by the larger department. If that is the case, the rest of the disciplinary department members may wish to supplement the outcomes described in the matrices.

Step 8. Explore possibility of consultative relationship between library and discipline.

Once the matrices have been finalized through continued conversation with disciplinary faculty members, a key question can be asked: Does the current curriculum allow students the opportunity to develop in the direction indicated by the matrices. At this point, librarians can open a dialogue about the possibility of working with the department to document or develop new scaffolded learning opportunities.