Alison Head


Alison J. Head, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Project Information Literacy (PIL), a research institute dedicated to conducting ongoing, large-scale research studies about college students and their research habits. She is also a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Senior Researcher at the metaLAB (at) Harvard. PIL has conducted ongoing research studies since 2011 and has interviewed or surveyed over 22,000 U.S. college students to investigate how they conducted course-related and everyday life research and find and use information in the digital age. PIL is the largest scholarly research study (by sample size) about information literacy in the U.S. that has ever been undertaken. In 2018, PIL published a groundbreaking survey (N=5,844) on how students engage with news (funded by the Knight Foundation). In 2016, PIL released an extensive study of lifelong learning needs and practices by recent graduates of college (funded by IMLS). In 2012, PIL launched "The PIL Passage Studies," a unique series of studies about the challenges college students face as they transition from one complex information landscape to the next. Alison's academic areas of interest include information-seeking behaviors of early adults, information literacy and lifelong learning, Web adoption and diffusion, human-computer interaction, and usage of social media for collaborative learning. Alison is the author of two books about interface design and usability: Design Wise: A Guide for Evaluating the Interface Design of Information Resources (CyberAge Books, 1999) and On-the-Job Research: How Usable Are Corporate Research Intranets? (Special Libraries Association, 2002). She has a Ph.D. in Information Science from U.C. Berkeley's Information School, a Masters in Journalism from Boston University, and studied Human-Computer Interaction at Stanford University, as a Visiting Scholar.

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