Recognizing the Value of Threshold Concepts: Application of a Conceptual Tool to Professional Students Learning to Be Researchers

Kristine Alpi, Chad Hoggan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Threshold concepts, as theorized by Meyer and Land, are key understandings, ways of thinking, and subjectivities that are necessary for newcomers to learn in order to participate successfully in a given field of study or practice. Every discipline and profession has threshold concepts, but often they are so integral to veterans’ participation in their field that they remain implicit until an effort is made to articulate tacit understandings into explicit learning outcomes for newcomers. Library and information science uses threshold concepts as a framework for educating all types of students in information literacy competencies expected of novice researchers. This report demonstrates how threshold concepts were articulated and implemented into a summer research scholars program for veterinary students. This article uses a typology of transformative learning outcomes as a guide to articulate threshold concepts specific for researchers in veterinary science. Through examining the context of a summer research scholars program for veterinary students, these concepts were further elucidated and considered in the implementation of information literacy learning opportunities for this program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-130
Number of pages17
JournalReference Librarian
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • information literacy
  • threshold concepts
  • transformative learning
  • typology
  • veterinary education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences

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