To read this content please select one of the options below:

Revealing instruction opportunities: a framework-based rubric for syllabus analysis

Melissa Beuoy (Division of Libraries, New York University, New York, New York, USA)
Katherine Boss (Division of Libraries, New York University, New York, New York, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 12 March 2019

Issue publication date: 12 June 2019




The purpose of this paper was to develop a rubric based on the ACRL framework to analyze departmental syllabi for opportunities to scaffold information literacy instruction. The rubric provided a replicable method of gathering and analyzing data using course syllabi to enable instruction librarians to strategically embed information literacy instruction within a disciplinary curriculum.


This study examined 231 syllabi from three departments at a large American university. The authors developed and normed a rubric based on ACRL’s 2015 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education and coded the syllabi for the presence of these six themes using a three-indicator scale: not present, implied or explicitly stated. Cohen’s kappa calculations for interrater reliability was 0.92, which indicates that the raters had a high level of agreement and that the rubric could be a reliable instrument to replicate this sort of study.


The analysis revealed numerous opportunities for targeted, curriculum-integrated instruction in each department at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It also offered disciplinary insights on the Framework within and across each program. Thesedata can be used to inform conversations with program administrators about scaffolding information literacy interventions across a curriculum.


This study contributes a new instrument with which to analyze syllabi for information literacy outcomes to develop curricular maps and conduct strategic instructional outreach. The data demonstrated that the rubric is reliable and could be used to replicate this study in a variety of programs or institutions. Authors have presented at Library Instruction West, July 2018.



Beuoy, M. and Boss, K. (2019), "Revealing instruction opportunities: a framework-based rubric for syllabus analysis", Reference Services Review, Vol. 47 No. 2, pp. 151-168.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles