Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Adult and Continuing Education

First Advisor

Dr. Scipio A.J. Colin, III

Second Advisor

Dr. Randee Lipson Lawrence

Third Advisor

Dr. Sherrill Weaver


Information Literacy is a process for finding, using, evaluating and incorporating information into an individuals’ knowledge base. This process has been formalized into the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. The concept of Information Literacy as articulated in the ACRL Standards is based on Western knowledge and ways of knowing that resides in academic disciplines. This knowledge is privileged and regarded as universal, rational, and superior to other forms of knowledge and does not incorporate or reflect non-Western epistemologies. This study questioned the universality of this process as reflective of being grounded in Western culture and knowledge.

The purpose of this study was to identify the role of culture in the information-seeking process in order to inform librarians on how they can provide culturally-relevant instruction. This single case study examined the role of culture in the information-seeking process. Students at an academic institution who initially self-identified as Hispanic were interviewed to determine how they located, evaluated, used, and incorporated information into their knowledge base and how they constructed knowledge. Concepts from Critical Theory and Critical Race Theory were used to analyze data. Findings indicated that culture does play a role in the information-seeking process by valuing local, community sources of information, and that students were directed to use academically-approved sources of information in higher education. The influence and role of culture on information-seeking behavior is a complex issue. Librarians and adult educators can develop “critical information literacy” as one means to connect information to knowledge construction.




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