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Information Literacy Guide: Determining Info Need

ACRL Standard One

The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed.


Performance Indicators:

  1. The information literate student defines and articulates the need for information.
  2. The information literate student identifies a variety of types and formats of potential sources for information.
  3. The information literate student considers the costs and benefits of acquiring the needed information.
  4. The information literate student reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need.

Source: Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (2000).

Determining an Information Need

After completing this SECTION, you will be able to:

  • define your need for information,
  • think critically about your topic and need,
  • read about your topic and start making notes,
  • define keywords by:
    • drawing a mind map,
    • selecting broader and narrower subject terms,
    • identifying different spellings or words
  • understand that the financial cost of information is an important issue.


The following topics are covered in this section and will equip you to start the searching process.