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CMU instruction librarians are ambassadors of student success, committed to the university’s mission to provide abundant opportunities for students to grow intellectually, professionally, and personally. We support CMU faculty in engaging students with our library resources, developing students’ information literacy and critical thinking skills, and assessing progress throughout their academic careers.

The National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL) defines Information Literacy as “The ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand.”

Our library instruction focuses on key undergraduate learning outcomes at baseline, emerging, and capstone levels. These student learning outcomes are driven by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and aligned with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Information Literacy VALUE Rubric and the Colorado Mesa University Critical Thinking Rubric.

Interested in research skills-focused workshops? See our Events & Workshops page or email [email protected] to schedule a session specific for your class.

Tomlinson Library Information Literacy Student Learning Outcomes

CMU Critical Thinking Rubric

AAC&U Information Literacy VALUE Rubric

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education


Students will explore ideas, test topics, and refine a research question in context.  

Explanation of Issues  

Issue/problem to be considered critically is stated clearly and described comprehensively, delivering all relevant information necessary for full understanding.

Student’s Position  

Specific position is imaginative, taking into account the complexities of an issue. Limits of position are acknowledged. Others' points of view are synthesized within position.

Determine the Extent of Information Needed  

Effectively defines the scope of the research question or thesis. Effectively determines key concepts. Types of information (sources) selected directly relate to concepts or answer research question.

Research as Inquiry  

Research is iterative and depends upon asking increasingly complex or new questions whose answers in turn develop additional questions or lines of inquiry in any field.


Students will identify core concepts, keywords, and subject headings for discovery of relevant information.  


Access the Needed Information  

Accesses information using variety of search strategies and some relevant information sources. Demonstrates ability to refine search.

Searching as Strategic Exploration  

Searching for information is often nonlinear and iterative, requiring the evaluation of a range of information sources and the mental flexibility to pursue alternate avenues as new understanding develops.


Students will evaluate authors and information sources for authority, relevance, purpose, and bias in context.  

Supporting Information  

Information is taken from source(s) with enough interpretation/evaluation to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis. Viewpoints of experts are questioned thoroughly

Evaluate Information and Its Sources Critically  

Chooses a variety of information sources appropriate to the scope and discipline of the research question. Selects sources after considering the importance (to the researched topic) of the multiple criteria used (such as relevance to the research question, currency, authority, audience, and bias or point of view).

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual  

Information resources reflect their creators’ expertise and credibility, and are evaluated based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Authority is constructed in that various communities may recognize different types of authority. It is contextual in that the information need may help to determine the level of authority required.

Information Creation as a Process  

Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences.


Students will analyze and interpret information, and draw reasonable conclusions to support original ideas and inquiries.  


Organizes and synthesizes evidence to reveal insightful patterns, differences, or similarities related to focus.

Conclusions and Related Outcomes  

States a conclusion that is a logical extrapolation from the inquiry findings.

Use Information Effectively to Accomplish a Specific Purpose  

Communicates, organizes and synthesizes information from sources to fully achieve a specific purpose, with clarity and depth

Scholarship as Conversation  

Communities of scholars, researchers, or professionals engage in sustained discourse with new insights and discoveries occurring over time as a result of varied perspectives and interpretations.


Students will accurately and ethically integrate, attribute, and cite information.  


Access and Use Information Ethically and Legally  

Students use correctly all of the following information use strategies (use of citations and references; choice of paraphrasing, summary, or quoting; using information in ways that are true to original context; distinguishing between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution) and demonstrate a full understanding of the ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published, confidential, and/or proprietary information.

Information Has Value  

Information possesses several dimensions of value, including as a commodity, as a means of education, as a means to influence, and as a means of negotiating and understanding the world. Legal and socioeconomic interests influence information production and dissemination.