Project Information Literacy, with Dr. Alison J. Head
Circulating Ideas 230
For many of us instruction librarians working on college campuses, Project Information Literacy was a kind of surreal experience. With each new study, PIL confirmed (with actual data) what we were seeing on a daily basis but they also opened up new ideas and offered explanations for how our students used information. It as if PIL researchers were following us around and documenting our lives. It was familiar but also revelatory. This is why I was really excited to interview Dr. Alison Head, PIL’s founder and director. After 14 years of research into student information use, it was a great time to celebrate and reflect!
- Troy Swanson, 12/14/2022
CI230 Show Notes
In Circulating Ideas, Episode 230, guest host Troy Swanson chatted with Dr. Alison J. Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, about PIL’s early days, PIL’s unique place in the information literacy research field, the importance of student and information agency, and what’s next for the PIL group!
Project Information Literacy
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts national, ongoing studies on how adults find and use information as they progress through, and beyond, their higher education years and throughout adulthood. We work in small teams on large-scale studies using a collaborative research approach, mixed methods, and samples from across the United States.
PIL began in 2008 by studying college students’ research experiences in the United States. Over 14 years of the “College Study,” we surveyed and interviewed nearly 21,000 U.S. college students and released 12 groundbreaking reports that examined how they interact with information resources for school, for life, for work, and most recently, for engaging with the news.
Dr. Alison J. Head
Alison J. Head, Ph.D. is an information scientist and social science researcher. She is the founder and director of Project Information Literacy (PIL), a national research institute that studies what it is like to find, use, and evaluate information in the digital age as students and lifelong learners. In a series of 12 groundbreaking research studies with a collective sample of nearly 21,000 undergraduates from U.S. colleges and universities, PIL has investigated how college students and recent graduates utilize research skills, competencies, and strategies for completing course work and for solving information problems and engaging with news in everyday life. Dr. Head's research about today’s students and their information practices began with a small study at Saint Mary's College of California, where she taught new media as the Roy O. Disney Visiting Professor in New Media for 10 years.
Troy A. Swanson is Teaching & Learning Librarian and Library Department Chair at Moraine Valley Community College. He is also the President of the Moraine Valley Faculty Association. Troy is the author or editor of several books and articles including co-editor of Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information which received the Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year Award from ARCL’s Instruction Section. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the management of technology policy in higher education. He served on ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force which issued the Framework for Information Literacy. Over his tenure as a librarian and educator, Troy has won his campuses Master Teacher and Innovation of the Year awards, as well as the Proquest Innovation in College Librarianship award from ACRL.
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