Student Learning Outcomes

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UW Tacoma Library’s Student Learning Outcomes have been created in order to foster campus-wide conversations about shared goals for the teaching and learning of information literacy. The following outcomes establish our broad vision for information literacy and research-related student learning at UW Tacoma.

Given the complexity of our institutional context(s), we recognize that these outcomes may apply in varying degrees at different levels, programs, and majors. The outcomes will establish the basis for the Library’s assessment of student learning within and across programs (both in person and online) at UW Tacoma, and will underpin assessments that are tailored to the requirements of the distinctive programs and populations we serve.


UW Tacoma Library Student Learning Outcomes*


To fulfill our vision for information literacy, students will be able to:


Understand research as a process of inquiry and sense-making


  • Identify and assess the need for information and the role of research in constructing knowledge
  • Articulate the iterative and creative nature of research
  • Investigate the cultural and political contexts of information products 
  • Enter academic conversations through developing  informed arguments



Identify when and why information is needed


  • Develop a searchable research question (appropriate for their education level), define a problem, or identify a task
  • Seek help to address gaps in knowledge / techniques for understanding an information need
  • Revise a question, problem, or task during the research process



Conduct effective searches using applicable tools


  • Select appropriate tools that lead to needed information
  • Create and revise search strategies, using techniques such as vocabulary, Boolean logic, subject headings, thesauri, and limiters
  • Locate and access information in its various forms
  • Effectively use search tools such as the library catalog, research guides, databases, and web search engines to locate needed information 
  • Navigate the transition from interdisciplinary to subject-specific research by selecting appropriate search tools and vocabulary



Evaluate and use critical thinking to select information to address the research need


  • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of information sources
  • Understand the value of different information formats and use these resources appropriately
  • Evaluate a wide variety of resources for audience, context, currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose; understand how these factors may impact when and how to use a source



Use and communicate information


  • Effectively credit outside resources and understand when it is appropriate to do so
  • Synthesize information from varying sources to create new knowledge, ideas, or understanding
  • Organize and manage information sources
  • Select an appropriate mode to communicate new knowledge based upon the audience and purpose of communication



Reflect and apply skills to new contexts


  • Cultivate a sense of comfort in unfamiliar systems by applying previously learned search strategies
  • Identify various stages in the research process and locate their own progress
  • Recognize individual strengths as well as areas for continued development
  • Recognize research as an ongoing process


* Outcomes are presented in list form and do not represent a sequential development process.