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Intended Learning Outcome:

To identify how to find, critique and use academic information


This model offers a useful framework for reviewing your current level of information literacy & identifying room for improvement.

The seven pillars are:

IDENTIFY: able to identify a personal need for information

• Knowing what you need to find out

• Investigate what you need to know

SCOPE: can assess current knowledge and identify gaps

• Know what types of info are available to best answer your question

PLAN: can construct strategies for locating information and data

• Plan which tools and techniques are appropriate

• Choose and keep up to date keywords that you are searching for literature about

GATHER: can locate and access the information and data they need

• Where to find data – online and in print

• Create searches to find data

EVALUATE: can review the research process and compare and evaluate information and data

• Read different resources

• Identify the key arguments and points, accuracy, bias, credibility etc. between resources.

MANAGE: can organise information professionally and ethically

• Understand copyright, plagiarism, intellectual property.

• Create and use Harvard referencing

PRESENT: can apply the knowledge gained: presenting the results of their research, synthesising new and old information and data to create new knowledge and disseminating it in a variety of ways

• Understanding the writing styles required


The seven pillars can be used in many ways. It is useful as an overview of information literacy – encompassing finding literature, critical academic reading and Harvard Referencing.

SUGGESTED TASK (on the Seven Pillars worksheet – see below):

1. Review what each of these pillars represents in understanding information literacy

2. Mark in the bottom sections of each column where you think you are in your learning journey by listing the skills you feel confident using.

3. Mark in the top sections of each column the skills you need to work on next.

4. Where are you on your learning journey? How far along each column do you feel you are?


You can use this to describe and teach about information literacy, dividing it neatly into sections.

It can be used to measure where students feel they are with getting to grips with the subject and it can be used to review progress in developing these skills.

NB Some of the concepts in here may seem quite tricky to students and need unpacking and explaining. You may wish to use this framework to come up with a specific checklist for your module.



Show the video (below) with the accompanying handout and ask students to discuss and see if they can find examples of the different skills described. Discussion and learning can then take place on the skills you need them to master.

This could be a lead-in activity to finding some resources online in Google scholar or EBSCO or BIMM’s physical library or it could follow on to Harvard Referencing activities. (See Academic Writing under Study Skills element).

As assessment time draws closer when students need to be seeking and using resources ask them to review the skills they feel they have and look for gaps. Use this as a discussion tool on where they need help so that students have an input into what lessons contain next.

Set up the Seven Pillars as a framework and then gradually refer back to them as the class looks at more of the skills.

You could use the handout as a visual measure of what has been covered (maybe colouring sections in on slides as you progress).

Large Group Teaching:

With large groups, you can either run this as a solo activity and then put students into groups to discuss/adjust their decisions or you could have small-group discussions which contribute to a whole-group activity of generating one list.

Online Teaching:


Students will be aware of how to find literature and will be familiar with the resources available. More work in the next steps may be needed for critical reading and Harvard Referencing etc.

Next Steps:

Work specifically on critical reading and Harvard Referencing as well as plagiarism. CRAAP is a useful model for working on the GATHER pillar.

Links to other activities:

CRAAP is a useful model for working on the GATHER pillar:

Further reading:

This tool is also referenced in the BIMM Study Skills Guide.



Handout – A brief explanation of the 7 areas with space for note-taking: 

Worksheet  – A visual representation of the 7 pillars with space to note what students feel able to do and what they need to develop further: 

Graphic for use in slides etc.:

The SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy video Available at

The SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. Core Model for Higher Education. Available at

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