We’re very pleased that we have successfully finished the Information literacy for democratic engagement (IL-DEM) project. You are very welcome to download and read the IL-DEM stakeholder report. Alternatively, here’s a short summary of IL-DEM’s rationale, methods and findings:
IL-DEM data collection is in full swing! We’ve interviewed 18 community councillors and are about halfway through transcribing the interviews. (We’re gathering data by other means too for this project, but we’ll talk about them in later blog posts.)
We haven’t yet begun to code and analyse the interview data rigorously, but for now here are some cherry-picked highlights of the ‘story so far’. Most participants have recognised that they have information-training needs of some kind – one even referred to the Pyramid hierarchy of skills – so here we focus on training.
(Originally posted on Professor Hazel Hall’s website on 2 December 2016)
The Centre for Social Informatics is currently undertaking a project entitled Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM). Supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, our work investigates levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system.
Specifically Peter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are exploring how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so we’re extending two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research.
The IL-DEM project is designed to answer three research questions which Bruce set out in his post on 23 October. This post is our chance to start exploring elements of the second question:
What are the relationships between (1) information behaviours, (2) literacies (skills and capabilities), (3) resources, and (4) knowledge and experience, in the acquisition of information literacy amongst Community Councillors?
The IL-DEM project is designed to answer three research questions which Bruce set out in his post on 23 October. This post is our chance to start exploring the first question:
What are the current practices of Community Councillors in exploiting information channels for engaging citizens in the democratic process?
Work on the IL-DEM project is now underway. Hazel has introduced the project already, but here I hope to explain what we’ll actually be doing. We’ll start from the belief that information literacy – the ability to source, process, store and pass on information – is a key part of community councillors’ duties.
This stems from the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973,
In addition to any other purpose which a community council may pursue, the general purpose of a community council shall be to ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authorities for its area, and to public authorities, the views of the community which it represents, in relation to matters for which these authorities are responsible, and to take such action in the interests of that community as appears to it to be expedient and practicable.