Vol 1 (2021)

An investigation into secondary school teachers’ understanding, perception and practice of information literacy and continuous professional development

Reflective Professional
Published June 14, 2021
  • Teachers,
  • Secondary schools,
  • Information literacy,
  • Continuous professional development


The aim of this research was to gain an insight into how Scottish secondary teachers’ conduct their CPD and to explore their understanding of and engagement with information literacy, and whether they continue to develop their information literacy through their CPD. To consider if teachers have the need for further support in developing their information literacy and whether they have cultivated skills in information literacy through prior experiences in education and work.

A qualitative methods approach was selected as being most viable for collecting data which deals with perspectives and complex ideas. Using semi-constructed interviews, it allowed teachers to share their individual experiences and stories. Vignettes were also used, to allow teachers to provide their own understanding of information literacy and to demonstrate components of information literacy which they would teach. The term information literacy was not expected to be a term familiar to teachers, as prior research had already discovered, so the use of vignettes provided better insight without having to rely on using terminology which may cause confusion for participants. To provide a context to teachers’ understanding of information literacy, a textual analysis was carried out on the Scottish curriculum.

The results of the interviews, responses to the vignettes and textual analysis result were analysed and discussed in the context of the literature review. The investigation found that although teachers were unfamiliar with information literacy, they understood the fundamental skills associated with it and recognised its significance for education and for general life skills. They were confident in their own information literacy abilities but considered there to be no professional development support available to them. They also did not recognise some of their informal CPD practices to develop their information literacy.