Scale Evaluating the Information Literacy Self-Efficacy of Medical Students Created and Tested in a Six-Year Belgian Medical Program


  • Brittany Richardson University of Tennessee at Chattanooga



A Review of:

De Meulemeester, A., Buysse, H., & Peleman, R. (2018). Development and validation of an Information Literacy Self-Efficacy Scale for medical students. Journal of Information Literacy, 12(1), 27-47. Retrieved from


Objective – To create and validate a scale evaluating the information literacy (IL) self-efficacy beliefs of medical students.

Design – Scale development.

Setting – Large, public research university in Belgium.

Subjects – 1,252 medical students enrolled in a six-year medical program in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Methods – Ten medical-specific IL self-efficacy questions were developed to expand a 28-item Information Literacy Self-Efficacy Scale (ILSES) (Kurbanoglu, Akkoyunlu, & Umay, 2006). Medical students in Years 1 – 5 completed the questionnaire (in English) in the first two weeks of the academic year, with students in Year 6 completing after final exams. Respondents rated their confidence with each item 0 (‘I do not feel confident at all’) to 100 (‘I feel 100% confident’). Principal Axis Factoring analysis was conducted on all 38 items to identify subscales. Responses were found suitable for factor analysis using Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity and the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure (KMO). Factors were extracted using the Kaiser-Gutmann rule with Varimax rotation applied. Cronbach’s alpha was used to test the internal consistency of each identified subscale. Following a One-way-ANOVA testing for significant differences, a Tamhane T2 post-hoc test obtained a pairwise comparison between mean responses for each student year.

Main Results – Five subscales with a total of 35 items were validated for inclusion in the Information Literacy Self-Efficacy Scale for Medicine (ILSES-M) and found to have a high reliability (Chronbach’s alpha scores greater than .70). Subscales were labelled by concept, including “Evaluating and Processing Information” (11 items), “Medical Information Literacy Skills” (10 items), “Searching and Finding Information” (6 items), “Using the Library” (4 items), and “Bibliography” (4 items). The factor loading of non-medical subscales closely reflected studies validating the original ILSES (Kurbanoglu, Akkoyunla, & Umay, 2006; Usluel, 2007), suggesting consistency in varying contexts and across time. Although overall subscale means were relatively low, immediate findings among medical students at Ghent University demonstrated an increase in the IL self-efficacy of students as they advance through the 6-year medical program. Students revealed the least confidence in “Using the Library.”

Conclusions – The self-efficacy of individuals in approaching IL tasks has an impact on self-motivation and lifelong learning. The authors developed the ILSES-M as part of a longitudinal study protocol appraising the IL self-efficacy beliefs of students in a six-year medical curriculum (De Meulemeester, Peleman, & Buysse, 2018). The ILSES-M “…could give a clear idea about the evolution of perceived IL and the related need for support and training” (p. 43). Further research could evaluate the scale’s impact on curriculum and, conversely, the impact of curricular changes on ILSE. Qualitative research may afford additional context for scale interpretation. The scale may also provide opportunities to assess the confidence levels of incoming students throughout time. The authors suggested further research should apply the ILSES-M in diverse cultural and curricular settings.


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Author Biography

Brittany Richardson, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Web Services Librarian, Assistant Professor




How to Cite

Richardson, B. (2019). Scale Evaluating the Information Literacy Self-Efficacy of Medical Students Created and Tested in a Six-Year Belgian Medical Program. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 14(2), 128–130.



Evidence Summaries