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Companion Document to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Politics, Policy and International Relations

This guide was developed to accompany the Companion Document to the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education: Politics, Policy and International Relations.

Frame Description

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.

Governments and intergovernmental organizations (IGO) are prolific creators of information, which forms the basis of much academic research in political science, policy studies, international relations, and related disciplines. More importantly, these information sources are essential input for policymakers, businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals to make critical decisions. The creation of government and IGO information involves the mobilization of numerous financial, human, and capital resources. The availability and accuracy of specific government and IGO information is subject to the policy decisions of the organizations themselves.

The purpose of information produced by entities studied in political science, policy studies, international relations, and related disciplines is to inform and/or influence public opinion and government policies. Any information produced by these entities has the potential to shape policy decisions and public opinion. Those who are trying to influence policy-making and public opinion will select and frame information that will add value to their efforts to obtain their objectives. As such, in the realm of PPIRS disciplines, researchers must understand the motivations behind the production, dissemination, and framing of information.

Furthermore, researchers should reflect on how their own research wittingly or unwittingly serves political causes and consider the implications it has for influencing public opinion and policy-making, whether or not intentional. A researcher should be prepared for political actors to inaccurately represent their research or use their research for political purposes that s/he does not endorse.

Evidence of Frame in Action

  • The U.S. government requires that a researcher who received a particular taxpayer-funded grant for their research make their publication and its data available through open access.
  • Data collected and published by the US Bureau of the Census is openly and freely available to the public, which creates cost savings for the state and local governments, individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other private actors that rely on those data to make decisions. Taxpayer money has already funded the collection and publication of the data.

  • A candidate for governor highlights a news story about the alleged failure of their rival to pay payroll taxes for a housekeeper as an argument against the rival in a campaign ad.

Sample Learning Goals

  1. Recognize how government priorities impact federal, state, and local government websites and data accessibility. (KP5)
  2. Explain how social, economic, and power structures influence the production and dissemination of information on government websites. (KP5)
  3. Search the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine in order to find missing or deleted government web pages. (KP5)
  4. Articulate the value of open scholarship in political science, public policy, and related fields. (KP3)
  5. Recognize one’s information privilege in comparison to those in locations where information is censored by the government. (KP5, D4)
  6. Recognize that the structure of government information, including the U.S. government classification system, means that they may not have access to all government information. (KP5, D4)
  7. Appropriately cite sources using APSA format. (KP1, D1)