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Information Literacy Assessment Survey

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Enter your class:
Freshman    Sophmore
Junior         Senior

This assessment is designed to track the development of your information literacy skills. Our hope is that by your senior year you will be able to answer all of these questions with little effort. Please select one answer to each of the 25 questions below.

1) When performing research, one important part of forming a Search Strategy is to:

A. Locate books using the library's online catalog

B. Search a computer database for articles

C. Analyze your topic to identify alternative keywords/concepts

D. Check the Internet for background information on your topic

2) Which of the following is a characteristic of a scholarly journal?

A. The presence of glossy photos and advertisements

B. Articles are written by people from a variety of fields

C. Footnotes and bibliographies are regularly used to cite sources

D. Topics covered are not confined to one major field of study


3) Which of the following is NOT a secondary source?

A. A literary text such as The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

B. Books about The Catcher in the Rye

C. Journal articles written by J. D. Salinger about The Catcher in the Rye

D. Dissertations about The Catcher in the Rye


Read the following statement and answer questions 4 and 5:
Statement: "Describe the effects of automobile emissions on air quality."

4) Which of the following keyword examples may yield the best results for the statement above in an electronic database search? (The * indicates multiple suffix possibilities.)

A. automobile* and effects

B. automobile* and emission* and air quality

C. effects and emission* and quality

D. emission* and air quality

5) Which source would most likely provide you with objective information for the main concepts in the statement?

A. A personal interview with an influential lobbyist

B. A web site that advocates clean air

C. The latest annual report from a major automobile manufacturer

D. A study featured in a peer-reviewed periodical


6) Read the following opening paragraphs from the article entitled: "Dumber Than We Thought" that was published in Newsweek magazine on September 20, 1993.

Just because you can make out this sentence isn't proof that you're literate. And just because you shelled out the correct $2.95 for this issue of NEWSWEEK doesn't mean you've got satisfactory arithmetic skills. The better measures: can you reach our offices using a Manhattan subway map, write us a letter about a billing error, or figure out the Conventional Wisdom Watch every week?

So concludes the most comprehensive study of literacy ever done of Americans. Released last week by the U.S. Department of Education, the report offers an appalling portrait of the population's proficiency with words and numbers. It, too, seems to confirm some of the worst fears of business leaders and educators: American workers - and not just the latest wave of immigrants - appear ill equipped to compete globally, and high schools are hardly helping by awarding degrees to students barely able to read or write. "This should be a wake-up call," says Education Secretary Richard Riley. "The vast majority of Americans do not know that they do not have the skills to earn a living in our increasingly technological society and international marketplace."

Choose the answer that best represents the article's thesis statement (sometimes referred to as a topic or subject sentence).

A. .American workers. appear ill equipped to compete globally.

B. .the U.S. Department of Education report offers an appalling portrait of the population's proficiency with words and numbers.

C. Just because you can make out this sentence isn't proof that you're literate.

D. "The vast majority of Americans do not know that they do not have the skills to earn a living in our increasingly technological society and international marketplace."

7) Choose the example of Boolean Logic that would likely yield the greatest number of results in a database search.

A. cars or trucks

B. cars and trucks

C. cars near trucks

D. cars not trucks

8) Which of the following is a correct example of truncation?
( truncation - using a wild card symbol to indicate multiple prefix or suffix possibilities )

A. puppies not (kittens)

B. dogs (or) cats

C. *kitt and dogs

D. cat* and kitten*


9) The topic you selected for your research paper is "diet and health," and you decide to utilize a periodical database to locate related articles. To achieve the best results from the database, you try using "diet and health" as your keywords. Unfortunately, you discover that this search yields far too many articles than you can sensibly use. Which of the following suggestions would be your next best course of action for avhieving a more manageable list of articles?

A. Choose keywords that are more specific to your topic

B. Use the same keywords "diet and health" and perform a search on the Internet

C. Perform a search using "food and well-being" as keywords

D. Use "diet" or "health" as separate keywords and perform a search for each


10) Steinbeck, John. "How, under the most adverse circumstances, love came to
Big Joe Portagee." Tortilla Flat. New York: Viking Press, 1962. 104-109.

The reference above is a bibliographic citation for a:

A. Journal article

B. Personal interview

C. World Wide Web site

D. Book Chapter

11) You need to compare unemployment rates on a local, state, and national level as part of your research paper. Using the U.S. Department of Labor website, you were able to locate the necessary information in the three tables below. Which of the following would be the best method of representing the data in your work?

Table 1 - United States

Data Series
July 2002
Aug 2002
Sept 2002
Oct 2002
Nov 2002
Dec 2002
Unemployment Rate
Avg Hourly Earnings
Consumer Price Index

Table 2 - Pennsylvania

Data Series
June 2002
July 2002
Aug 2002
Sept 2002
Oct 2002
Nov 2002
Civilian Labor Force
Unemployment Rate

Table 3 - Scranton – Wilkes Barre, PA

Data Series
June 2002
July 2002
Aug 2002
Sept 2002
Oct 2002
Nov 2002
Civilian Labor Force
Unemployment Rate


A. Write the unemployment figures directly into the text of your research paper

B. Mention the trends in the unemployment rates, but state in your paper that the exact figures can be viewed at the U.S. Department of Labor website

C. Create and insert a new table into your research paper that contains only the necessary information

D. Cut and paste all three tables directly into the text of your research paper while giving proper credit to the U.S. Department of Labor


12) DeCoursy, Nicole. "Your Family." Good Housekeeping Dec. 2000: 79. EBSCO Host Academic Search Premier. Borough of Manhattan Community College Library, New York, NY. 10 May 2002

The above reference is a bibliographic citation for a/an:

A. Online newspaper article

B. Professional web page

C. Subscription database article

D. Email discussion list posting

13) Which of the following examples demonstrates the correct use of quotation marks?

A. Was it Somerset Maugham who said, "Love - the dirty trick nature played on us to achieve the continuation of the species"? (pg 64)

B. In the Connecticut Sunday Herald on February 19, 1967, Harry Neigher was quoted as saying, "A Westporter confided at Asti's: 'I just bought my wife a dinner set for her birthday - 32 teeth'."

C. In Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, a famous work by Mark Twain, he wrote, "Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved."

D. Robert Maynard Hutchins once remarked, "The college graduate is presented with a sheepskin to cover his intellectual nakedness".

14) "Ginseng is an herbal remedy that health-conscious people have been using with more frequency in recent years. One variety of this plant is relatively new to the world of herbal remedies. Siberian ginseng is widely believed to relieve stress and increase athletic performance and is a favorite of many people with active lifestyles."

Which of the following statements offers the best support to back up this claim for Siberian ginseng?

A. "The definitive study of ginseng's effect on energy levels has not been done yet," concedes Michael Tempesta of PharmaPrint, the company that manufactures Centrum's new ginseng supplement.

B. I. Brekman, a physician, gave the herb to "thousands of workers and found that it countered fatigue, improved performance, and strengthened immunity to disease."

C. "Among herbalists, ginseng is know as an 'adaptogen' - something that supposedly helps the body use its natural resources to buffer physical and mental stress."

D. Used in China for over 5,000 years, ginseng was known to 9th century Arab physicians. Over 400 million people have been using this herb for centuries.


15) Your class assignment is to prepare a PowerPoint presentation. There are important guidelines that you should consider when using the PowerPoint program. Choose the one answer that would NOT contribute to the effectiveness of your presentation.

A. Use a minimum number of words; avoid complete sentences

B. Use as many visual and auditory aids as possible to keep your audience interested

C. Make sure that the contrast between the colors of the text and background are pleasing to the eye, and that the text is easy to read

D. Text should usually be displayed in outline form


16) If you are writing a paper on animal rights, and you use information from a web site produced by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which web site evaluation criterion should you consider?

A. URL/Domain (e.g. .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net, .org)

B. Bias

C. Currency

D. Related links


17) Your assignment requires that you present a formal speech to your peers that is designed to influence their views on a particular issue. Which of the following choices would NOT be an effective course of action when giving your presentations?

A. Take as much time as you need in order to fully explain and present your argument

B. Wear clothing that gives a favorable first impression and is appropriate for the intended audience

C. Refrain from reading your speech in written form; use note cards

D. Avoid the excessive use of visual aids


18) Read the following original book passage from Slavery written by David Turley.

Although there is some debate on the subject, differences of colour or race seem to have mattered relatively little to the ancient Greeks, but 'otherness' in terms of ethnicity and language counted for a great deal.

Choose the one acceptable example of paraphrasing that does NOT constitute plagiarism.

A. In ancient Greece, slavery was generally based on the differences between people in terms of background and language.

B. "Otherness" in terms of ethnicity and language counted for a great deal to the ancient Greeks.

C. In ancient Greece, slavery was generally based on the differences between people in terms of background and language (Turley 28).

D. Differences of color seem to have mattered little to the Greeks, but ethnicity and language meant a great deal.


19) According to The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the purpose of a review of literature is to critically analyze a segment of a published body of knowledge through recount, classification, and comparison of prior research studies, reviews of literature, and theoretical articles.

A class assignment requires that you write a review of literature.

Using the list 1-10 below, identify the one correct answer that demonstrates the basic sequence for the general format of a review of literature.

1 - Develop an introduction
2 - Create an abstract
3 - State recommendations
4 - Compile a bibliography
5 - Summarize individual studies or articles
6 - List references
7 - Organize and illustrate the conclusion(s)
8 - Define the topic or scope of the review
9 - Point out overall trends or patterns
10 - State the purpose of the review

A. 8,2,9,7

B. 1,9,10,4

C. 1,3,4,6

D. 8,9,5,7

20) Which of the following does NOT conform to the concept of "Fair Use" in regard to the copyright law?

A. A music review in a newspaper includes quotations from a popular song

B. A student downloads company financial information from a government Web site for use in a research project

C. A teacher copies and distributes a journal article to use as an educational tool

D. A professor places a book from the University's library, that is out of print and unavailable, on the web for student use

21) If you collect images from the World Wide Web and compile them into a web site, paper, or display for a class project with a collective title that names you as the author, you have:

A. Plagiarized another person's work

B. Violated someone's intellectual property

C. Infringed upon copyright law

D. Employed the concept of "fair use"

22) As required by your professor, you must have two books, five journal articles, and two newspaper items as sources for your research paper. Once you have a topic, what would be the most appropriate course of action to begin your research?

A. Investigate the Internet to locate the required materials

B. Draft an outline of your research paper and proceed to locate the necessary materals

C. Scan your library's shelves for titles that pertain to your topic

D. Locate possible sources, and determine if they fit your needs


23) You have been performing research utilizing the electronic databases that are available through your college library's web page. However, you have discovered that another institution has a database that may have more precise information concerning your topic. Upon trying to access the database at the other institution, the computer displays a screen that prompts you for an ID number and password. Since these are not available to you, access to this resource is denied. Which of the following best describes your inability to utilize this database?

A. You have not contacted that particular institution which could have been provided you with the proper password for information free of charge

B. Your computer does not have the right "connection" for you to access the database.

C. You should have been successful using your college ID and password, but obviously there is a problem. See the Computer Center for assistance.

D. Most electronic databases are available on a subscription basis and accessible only to the students and faculty associated with the institution that pays for its use

24) You are required to locate peer-reviewed articles on a topic that was assigned to you in class. Where would you find this information?

A. Magazines

B. Compendiums

C. Journals

D. Newspapers

25) Read the following quotation and choose the one answer that is NOT an example of plagiarism.

"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything." -- Walter Bagehot

A. Few good books are written because many who write don't know anything.

B. According to Walter Bagehot, one possibility for the number of poorly written books is that "few people who can write know anything."

C. "The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything."

D. A reason why so few top quality books are written is that not many folks who write know anything. (Bagehot)


26) Read the following passage from an article published in the Christian Science Monitor on November 18, 1999.

Few sounds evoke a stronger sense of fall than the migratory call of Canada geese as they fly in well-formed skeins overhead.
As these and other birds wend their way south, new research suggests that the areas they use to layover en route to wintering grounds are as important as the destinations themselves. This insight has alerted researchers to the need to preserve and protect these crucial sites.
"We have discovered that migratory stop-overs are as important as winter and summer grounds," explains Sally Conyne, director of Citizen Science, a program at the National Audubon Society linking 50 million bird watchers nationwide. "These areas are critically important and can be found across North America and around the world."
Consider the swallow-tailed kite, a raptor whose winter migratory destination was recently discovered using satellite tracking. By attaching beacons to the birds' backs, researchers tracked the kite to a single prairie tree in Brazil, where some 300 were roosting.

Sidney Gauthreaux, professor of biological sciences at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., finds this situation precarious. "If something happened to that one tree, it could eliminate hundreds of birds in the United States," he says. "We are now starting to realize how vitally important these habitat issues are."
This realization has spawned a shift in the way migratory conservation is being carried out. The mantra is "keeping common birds common," a theme repeated by ornithologists across the country.

What is the main idea of this article?

A. Winter and summer layover grounds are important to migrating Canadian geese.
B. Satellite tracking devices are necessary to monitor the migratory movements of birds.
C. Layover areas are crucial to the conservation of migrating birds.
D. “Keeping common birds common” is important for the survival of migratory birds.

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