What is PIL?
Project Information Literacy (PIL) is a nonprofit research institute that conducts ongoing, national studies on what it is like being a student in the digital age. To learn more, read PIL's FAQ or a summary of our key research findings.
The report from our yearlong study of students and their news engagement practices, commissioned by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Association of College and Research Libraries, is available here.
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 carry out information tasks in the digital age.
Volunteer Sample: See the 260+ community colleges, public colleges and universities, and private colleges and universities in the U.S. that have already joined. Read the FAQ about how your institution can join the sample.
Visiting Research Scholar Program: The institutional site for the 2018/19 PIL Visiting Research Scholar Program is the University of Pittsburgh University Library System (ULS).
Support for PIL research efforts has included:
Students in the Age of Algorithms
To mark the 10th anniversary of PIL, we are releasing a special research report, co-authored by Alison Head and Barbara Fister, on the future of information literacy among college students. We will bring together emerging scholarship from multiple disciplines to consider today’s information environment and its most defining feature — the algorithm.
Qualitative findings about the impact of algorithms will be featured from focus groups with 100+ undergraduate students and interviews with faculty at six college campuses around the country. Recommendations will be provided for better preparing students as information users, sharers, and creators in the coming decade.
Our current research has been generously supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Harvard Graduate School of Education. More info available here.
News Engagement Study
In October 2018, we released our latest report, "How students engage with news." The open access report, public survey
dataset, and video are all available on news study page.
Many thanks to funders that generously supported this project: John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Association of College and Research Librarians (ACRL), and Harvard Graduate School of Education.
>> Read the press release
>> Watch the findings video (2:35 mins.)
>> Read media coverage of the study
"What's New Podcast": Dan Cohen talks to Alison Head and John Wihbey about PIL's study on college students and news engagement.
"'I use good sources when it counts for school, but am lazier at home': The critical divide between young adults’ academic and personal news engagement behaviors," Information Literacy Summit, Moraine Community College (IL), April 5, 2019. Presenter: Erica DeFrain.
"News digests to the rescue?" Alison Head, Barbara Fister, and Margy MacMillan, Storybench, March 15, 2019.
"Freedom of information and personal data: Big Tech should take cues from public libraries," Barbara Fister, Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 9, 2019.