What is PIL?
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national research studies on what it is like being a college student in the digital age. We examine how college students find and use information -- their needs, strategies, practices, and workarounds -- for course work and solving information problems that arise in their everyday lives.
To learn more, read PIL's FAQ, a summary of our key research findings, or one of our opinion pieces, such as "At Sea in a Deluge of Data" from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
PIL AT A GLANCE
Director: Dr. Alison J. Head
Purpose: PIL is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit institute that conducts ongoing, scholarly research about how young adults conceptualize and operationalize information tasks in the digital age.
Volunteer Sample: See the 250+ community colleges, public colleges and universities, and private colleges and universities in the U.S. that have already joined the PIL volunteer sample. Read the FAQ about how your institution can join the sample, too.
Contributing Supporters have included:
IN THE WORKS
We are currently working on two research projects. Both build and expand upon previous PIL findings.
How do students find news, and how does the news find them? We are finalizing plans to conduct a large-scale national study on how young adults consume news and gather information.
The research, conducted in partnership with faculty at Northeastern University and Wellesley College, will focus on two of the most pressing issues of what has been called our “post-truth” era: currency and authority.
The report will look to break new ground as an empirical and quantitative study of many issues -- such as “fake news” and misinformation -- to help better ground public discourse and potential policy solutions.
It will also formulate a set of recommendations for professionals directly implicated in addressing relevant problems, offering insights to three groups in particular working with young adults on the front lines: librarians, journalists, and educators.
The study, set to end in fall 2018, will be one of the largest of its kind, with surveys and interviews on college campuses and other educational settings across the country.
More to be announced soon. Stay tuned!
The Reading List for Life: We are developing an open access web app that lets users create and customize reading lists they can use for continued learning.
We expect to have a prototype of this app that we will test in public library settings by mid-2018.
This work is occurring in a two-year project between PIL, the metaLAB (at) Harvard, and the Open Syllabus Project at Columbia University.
Funding has been generously provided by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Templeton Foundation.
"Why blogs endure: A study of recent college graduates and motivations for blog readership," Alison J. Head, Michele Van Hoeck, and Kirsten Hostetler, First Monday, October 2, 2017, Vol, 22, No. 10.
“Fake news and the next generation,” Dan Cohen and What’s New Podcast: An Exploration New Ideas and Discoveries, Northeastern University, Episode 2, September 6, 2017 (36:50 minutes).
"Posing the million-dollar question: What happens after graduation?" Alison J. Head, Journal of Information Literacy, June 5, 2017, Vol. 11, No. 1: 80-90.
"The importance of truth workers in an era of factual recession," Alison J. Head and John Wihbey, Medium, April 8, 2017.
"Planning and designing academic library learning spaces: Expert perspectives of architects, librarians, and library consultants," Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy, Practitioner Series Research Report, December 7, 2016.
Born digital: Finding, evaluating, and using information for today’s learners, Texas Library Association, Dallas, TX. April 5, 2018. Presenter: Kirsten Hostetler.