Is the ACRL Framework a teaching tool? Undergraduates’ interpretations of its language and concepts

Jennifer Jarson, Rachel Hamelers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: While many librarians have celebrated the pedagogical inspiration offered by the ACRL Framework, some have raised concerns about the comprehensibility and accessibility of its language, particularly for students. The authors sought to understand if introducing the language of the frames explicitly – in addition to using them as the implicit foundation of our teaching – resonated with these undergraduates. This case study investigates how undergraduates at a liberal arts institution interpreted the Framework’s language and concepts in relation to their independent research. Design/methodology/approach: In this case study, the authors analyzed 25 undergraduates’ reflections on their information literacy learning guided by recommendations for thematic analysis of qualitative data from Braun and Clarke (2006) and Castleberry and Nolen (2018). These steps included closely reading the reflections, disassembling and reassembling by frame, coding for themes, and finding trends and patterns. Findings: The authors’ analysis of students’ reflections offers insight into how these students interpreted the Framework’s language and related it to their own experience. By noting language that seemed to resonate in this instance, the authors suggest ways in which educators could effectively use the Framework’s language with undergraduates. Originality/value: Other studies in this area have generally been conducted with semester-long general education courses. This case study explores if explicit use of the Framework’s language outside of the classroom setting can resonate with undergraduates. Expanding research into different academic contexts enhances our understanding of how librarians may use the Framework as an explicit pedagogical tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-189
Number of pages11
JournalReference Services Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 29 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


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