Both Online and In-Person Library Orientations Have Positive Effects on Graduate Students’ Information Literacy Skills


  • Lisa Shen Sam Houston State University



information literacy, online instruction, library orientation


Objective – To assess and compare the effectiveness of online and face-to-face library orientations.

Design – Pretest/posttest.

Setting – A public university in the United States of America.

Subjects – Graduate students in a Master of Social Work program.

Methods – At the beginning of the fall 2013 semester, students in 3 different sections of a social work research methods course were asked to complete a 17-question assessment to evaluate their information literacy skills and knowledge. Then, 1 section (Campus A) received a 50-minute in-class library orientation from a librarian, while the other 2 sections (Campus B and Off Campus) received orientation through asynchronous online video tutorials.

Post library orientation, research labs were then held for all three class sections, during which students received some hands-on time working with a librarian. After the hands-on labs, students were invited to complete the posttest assessment, which consisted of the same 17 questions.

Main Results – The researcher collected 59 pre-test and 27 posttest responses, although many respondents did not answer all the questions. Moreover, none of the posttest responses from the Off Campus students was deemed usable by the researcher.

After attending the library orientation and lab sessions, students were more likely to choose the library or a librarian as their starting point for research (19% pretest, 40% posttest). Students’ ability to identify book or chapter title in a citation (48% pretest, 92% posttest), and determine whether common knowledge required citations (87% correct in pre-test, 100% posttest) also appeared to improve after the library sessions. In addition, students’ skills in assessing the scholarliness and credibility of an article by its abstract also improved. While there were some anecdotal variations between responses between Campus A and Campus B groups, no statistically significant differences were noted.

Conclusion – The study results suggest that regardless of format, library orientations and hands on lab session had positive effects on graduate students’ information literacy skills and knowledge.


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Author Biography

Lisa Shen, Sam Houston State University

Head of Reference and Instructional Services




How to Cite

Shen, L. (2016). Both Online and In-Person Library Orientations Have Positive Effects on Graduate Students’ Information Literacy Skills. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 11(2), 189–191.



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