Far from a Trivial Pursuit: Assessing the Effectiveness of Games in Information Literacy Instruction


  • Eamon C Tewell
  • Katelyn Angell




online games, information literacy instruction, games-based learning, assessment



Objective – To determine whether playing library-related online games during information literacy instruction sessions improves student performance on questionnaires pertaining to selected research practices: identifying citation types and keyword and synonym development.

Methods – 86 students in seven introductory English composition classes at a large urban university in the northeastern United States served as participants. Each class visited the library for library instruction twice during a given semester. In the experimental group students received information literacy instruction that incorporated two online games, and the control group received the same lesson plan with the exception of a lecture in place of playing games. A six-item pre- and posttest questionnaire was developed and administered at the outset and conclusion of the two-session classes. The 172 individual tests were coded, graded, and analyzed using SPSS.

Results – A paired sample t-test comparing the control and experimental groups determined that that there was a statistically significant difference between scores on pre-tests and post-tests in the experimental group but not the control group.

Conclusion – Students who played the online games improved significantly more from pre-test to post-test than students who received a lecture in lieu of playing online games, suggesting that participating in games related to the instruction they received resulted in an improved ability to select appropriate keywords and ascertain citation formats. These findings contribute to the evidence that online games concerning two frequently challenging research practices can be successfully applied to library instruction sessions to improve student comprehension of such skills.


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How to Cite

Tewell, E. C., & Angell, K. (2015). Far from a Trivial Pursuit: Assessing the Effectiveness of Games in Information Literacy Instruction. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 10(1), 20–33. https://doi.org/10.18438/B8B60X



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