Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

June 2007


As academic librarians, we prescribe an intellectual framework to students by referring to the ‘family of terms scholar-scholarly-scholarship ' and by touching upon the mechanics of peer-review in our instruction. While there are rich and varied perceptions of scholarship underlying information literacy literature, there have been no reports of attempts to make them visible to students. In this article I present the door-in-the-face technique to enable instruction librarians to reflect on the ideals of scholarship underlying instruction. In psychology, the door-in-the-face technique is a method of persuasion whereby asking a big outrageous request to be rejected and following it with a smaller reasonable one, increases the chance of the smaller request being accepted and complied with. Getting a handle on the slippery value of scholarship requires us to ask complex questions about the meaning of the framework of scholarship, the values it prescribes, and students' personal beliefs about knowledge followed by practical questions about our own qualitative understanding of scholarship.