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What is Information Literacy: An Example

Modes of Reasoning

If you are researching a particular neighbourhood for an urban studies course, a community design project, or even for finding inspiration for creating a painting, you could research:


by conducting research on:

  • GENERAL THEORIES in urban planning, place identity, or markers of urban attachment in people BEFORE visiting the neighbourhood; this will give you the frame by which to observe and eventually analyze the
  • CONTEXTUAL behaviour of people in
  • a SPECIFIC location


  • pre-existing urban planning theories will allow you to look for specific characteristics in case-studies that you may not have recognized without conducting prior research


  • pre-existing urban planning theories may bias your observations and possibly make you miss out on characteristics that are specific to the case-study location and culture



where the:

  • SPECIFIC site-visit is conducted first without any prior THEORETICAL research; any observations made then becomes the impetus for researching
  •  CONTEXT and eventually identifying
  • a THEORETICAL HYPOTHESIS on people’s behaviour


  • not knowing pre-existing urban planning theories allows unbiased observation of human behaviours that are specific to the case-study location and culture


  • not knowing pre-existing urban planning theories may mean that you misinterpret what you observe, or miss out on human behaviours that have been previously studied in the literature