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Information Literacy & Library Engagement: Action Research: Project Information Literacy Participation

What is Project Information Literacy?

Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a large-scale, national study about early adults and their research habits, conducted in partnership with the University of Washington's iSchool. 

The Lifelong Learning Study

The University of Redlands participated in PIL's Lifelong Learning Study.                  

During 2013-15, PIL is conducting a two-year, large-scale quantitative study investigating how a sample of "relatively recent" college graduates from 10 U.S. colleges and universities find, evaluate, and use information for lifelong learning once they leave campus. 


PIL is studying how graduates find and use information for staying competitive in the workforce, engaging in civic affairs, and taking part in learning for personal and social enrichment. Their final research report will be released in December 2015.

To learn more, read a trends report (6 pages) from the 2014 Phase One telephone interviews with 63 recent graduates. Tune into a PIL video, based on excerpts from the interviews (2:39 minutes). Read Barbara Fister's column in Library Journal and her response to the early qualitative findings. Read their entry in Berkman's 2014 Internet Monitor"Why Blogs Still Matter to the Young." 

Lifelong Learning Study Final Report: "How Today's Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete College"

What are the lifelong learning practices of recent grads once they finish college? During 2013-2015, the PIL research team interviewed and surveyed 1,651 grads from 10 US colleges and universities. Read the PIL 2016 research report (112 pages).

"Staying Smart: How Today's Graduates Continue Learning Once They Complete College," Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy Research Report, January 5, 2016.

Abstract:This report presents findings about the information-seeking behavior of relatively recent college graduates used for lifelong learning in personal life, the workplace, and the local communities where they lived. Included are results from online surveys of 1,651 respondents and telephone interviews with 126 study participants who graduated from one of 10 US colleges and universities between 2007 and 2012. Findings indicated that most graduates needed to learn a combination of basic and complex life skills during the past year, such as money-management, how to make household repairs, and how to advance in their careers and communicate better on the job. They consulted friends, family, and coworkers almost as much as the Web. Graduates preferred information sources that had currency, utility, and interactivity. They also placed a high premium on curated information systems that were organized and kept up-to-date, such as libraries, museums, and bookstores. A model of shared utility is introduced for explaining graduates’ use of contemporary social media technologies as well as personal connections they had established with trusted allies. Graduates reported four barriers to their continued learning efforts: lack of time, finding affordable learning sources, staying on top of everything they needed to know, and staying motivated to keep learning after college. As a whole, graduates prided themselves on their ability to search, evaluate, and present information, skills they honed during college. Yet, far fewer said that their college experience had helped them develop the critical thinking skill of framing and asking questions of their own, which is a skill they inevitably needed in their post-college lives. Ten recommendations are presented for improving educational strategies, resources, and services that foster lifelong learning.

Watch the Major Findings: Lifelong Learning Study Video

Lifelong Learning Study: Summary for University of Redlands Alumni

Some highlights...

  • University of Redlands alumni "were more avid public library users than the total pool of graduates in [the] study sample."
  • University of Redlands alumni far outpaced the rest of the sample in their reporting of making use of critical thinking skills learned in college used for finding and using information.