Project Information Literacy, Inc. (PIL) is a public benefit 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation operating in the state of California. PIL is a small grassroots research organization led by Alison Head, who is the Founder and Executive Director and Research Scientist in the University of Washington's Information School. PIL works in partnership with the University of Washington's Information School, which provides graduate student research assistance, services for grant administration and website support, and ongoing mentor support from Mike Eisenberg, former PIL Co-Director and Emeritus Professor and Dean Emeritus in the iSchool.
We are a group of library and information science researchers who investigate the information seeking behavior of college students in the digital age. All of PIL's researchers have undergone CITI training in research ethics and are certified to collect data for PIL studies on campuses where we have obtained IRB approval. PIL is not paid any funds by institutions that participate in our studies. Likewise, institutions in our study samples do not receive any compensation for participating in PIL studies though we do share data from surveys we have conducted on their campuses and a brief trends report highlighting key findings. PIL pays the cost of any incentives that may be awarded to survey respondents who enter one of our survey contests (e.g., $100 Amazon gift card to one contest winner per campus).
PIL accepts forms of funding to support our ongoing research efforts. To date, our research has been funded by federal grants (Institute of Museum and Library Services), private foundations (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), and gifts (ProQuest, Cengage Learning, and Cable in the Classroom).
Alison Head, PIL's Director, has received support from the University of Washington's Information School as salary where she was employed as a research scientist during 2009-current and from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University as a stipend during 2011-2012 where she was a research fellow. Alison Head serves as a advisory board member on the Open Syllabus Project, based at Columbia University, and on WGBH Boston's PBS KIDS project.
It is PIL's policy that funds and compensation for PIL's research efforts have not, and will never, influence the content, topics, findings, and interpretations of data PIL makes in its research reports. The views expressed in PIL's research materials are purely those of PIL's researchers, based on the rigorous research we make every attempt to conduct. If we claim or appear to be experts on certain topics about information literacy, education, or students, we will only make such assertions based on our expertise, research findings, and analysis.
We make an active effort and are deeply committed to verifying any trend, quote, statistic, or representation of data we present in PIL materials. We are committed to making all of PIL's research materials (research reports,"Smart Talk" interviews, and videos) open access and freely available for use and re-use. Our research reports are available on the PIL Web site, ERIC, and SSRN. We have also published research in the open access journals First Monday and College & Research Libraries and publications such as Berkman's Internet Monitor, an annual report of research trends about the Internet.