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One of the most important skills related to information literacy is being aware of your own information needs. Please use this assignment as a way to begin generating ideas for possible research topics. You will be expected to narrow down a research topic to complete future assignments for this course.

Assignment Description:

Part 1: Identifying What You Don’t Know

Wherever you are, look around you. Find one thing in your immediate field of view that you can’t explain.

What is it that you don’t understand about that thing?

What is it that you need to find out so that you can understand it?

How can you express what you need to find out?

For example: You can’t explain why your coat repels water. You know that it’s plastic and that it’s designed to repel water, but can’t explain why this happens. You need to find out what kind of plastic the coat is made of and the chemistry or physics of that plastic and of water that makes the water run off instead of soaking through. (The terminology in your first explanation would get more specific once you did some research).

Part 2- Taking Stock of What You Already Know

As discussed above, part of identifying your own information need is giving yourself credit for what you already know about your topic. Construct a chart using the following format to list whatever you already know about the topic.

In the first column, list what you know about your topic.

In the second column, briefly explain how you know this (hear it from the professor, read it in the textbook, saw it on a blog, etc.)

In the last column, rate your confidence in the knowledge. Are you 100% sure of this bit of knowledge, or did you just hear it somewhere and assume it was right?

Your chart should look like the following example:

When you’ve looked at everything you think you know about the topic and why, step back and look at the chart as a whole. How much do you know about the topic, and how confident are you about it? You may be surprised at how little or how much you already know, but either way you will be aware of your own background on the topic.

Please download and complete the following worksheet: EN 111, Unit 1, Identifying Information Needs.docx

(To access the document click on the link).


Hosier, A., Bullis, D., Bernnard, D., Bobish, G., Holden, I., Hecker, J., . . . Jacobson, T. (2014). The information literacy user’s guide: An open, online textbook. (pg 10-11). Retrieved from , Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0

This assignment is worth a possible 40 points.

How to submit your assignment:

After you complete your assignment in a word document, save your work, and then you will need to attach the completed document to your submission. The process will be similar to making an attachment to an e-mail:

Under Attach File, click on “Browse My Computer.”
Look up your saved document, and click “Open.
Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click “Submit.”

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