The University of Tampa Macdonald-Kelce Library

First Year Experience and Baccalaureate Students

Information for students in their first year and transfer students new to UT.

Information Literacy - What is it and why does it matter?

"Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning." ACRL Framework

So what is Information Literacy? If you're confused by the definition above, just think about it as a personal analysis of information in order to form a reasoned judgement of that information, otherwise known as critical thinking. When you read, watch, or listen to anything, you usually form an opinion based on your past experiences. The classes you take in college teach you to hone those critical thinking skills. These skills are valuable because you are producers of information yourselves!


It's important to factor in not only the content of the information, but:

In what ways did you access the information? Is it free for everyone to see?

How was the information produced? Is it from a non-profit, a news source, the government, a blog; is someone trying to sell you something?

Who are the author(s)? What are their credentials?

How can I find more research about the topic? What do other experts say about the topic?

There are many other questions to ask and many different types of literacies. Why are asking these questions important? Because being information/media literate is an essential part of contemporary life. Being informed allows you to make better decisions and help others too. Move on to the next page to learn more about critical thinking skills.

Want a more comprehensive overview of information literacy? See the Information Literacy Guide.

For more insights into how to use your information literacy skills to fact check and evaluate things you find in the media (tv, newspapers, online), check out the "Fake News" & Misinformation Guide.

Propaganda Techniques

We are all subject to propaganda and conspiracy theories. It's important to be aware of the methods used to convince you of something.

The film below was produced by the group Digital Disruption and features young people presenting a selection of seven key propaganda techniques in their own words. Digital Disruption is a project to challenge and disrupt extremist messages on the internet by building resilience in vulnerable communities. They aim to empower young people to be savvier consumers of digital content.

Plagiarism - Ethics & Scholarship

What is plagiarism? It's sometimes confusing to understand what constitutes plagiarism. Read through this definition to clarify. Understanding plagiarism and how it affects others is a part of being media literate.

Take a look at the UT Academic Integrity Policy for more information.

The penalties for plagiarism can range from failing the assignment, to expulsion from university.

Plagiarism is --

  • presenting words or ideas of another person as your own;
  • copying a direct quotation from a source and not crediting the author;
  • not giving credit to the source you paraphrased;
  • cutting and pasting without providing proper citation.

Avoid plagiarism.

Do not --

  • copy and paste text without attributing the source;
  • copy someone else's work;
  • allow someone other than you to do your work.

Do --

  • put quotation marks around anything that is not in your own words;
  • put quotation marks around anything you copied and pasted;
  • provide citations for anything you didn't write.

It is better to cite too often, than cite too little. Check with your professor if you're not sure.

If you need help with citations or citation styles talk to a librarian, your professor, or someone in the writing center.

Plagiarism devalues your degree, is a form of self-sabotage, and corrupts the scholarly method.

  • Plagiarism devalues your degree. It's true that plagiarism is a form of cheating, and professors and administrators are interested in stopping cheating. Ultimately, students are awarded with a certificate showing they have met the requirements of a university education. To award such certificates to someone who didn't do the work, devalues the diploma for everyone. Stopping plagiarism is one method for maintaining a high institutional reputation.
  • Plagiarism is a form of self-sabotage. The work you do here exercises your brain and critical thinking, in the same way going to the gym exercises your muscles. If you ask someone to do your physical exercises, and don't do them yourself, you would not be surprised to gain no benefits from your gym membership. Similarly, if you don't do the hard work of reading, thinking, and critical analysis, you won't gain the benefits of a university education.
  • Plagiarism subverts the scholarly method. To ensure the data, facts, evidence, and arguments scholars are working with are of the highest quality, it is essential we are able to trace the provenance to their origin.

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