Information Skills Survey: Its Application to a Medical Course

Catherine Clark, Dr. Ralph Catts


Objective - To test if the Information Skills Survey(Catts Information Skills Survey for Assessment of Information Literacy in Higher Education) is suitable for the purpose of investigating the information literacy levels of a group of students in medicine. If not, the study was designed to determine the modifications that are necessary to make the Information Skills Survey a reliable instrument for investigating the information literacy levels of a group of students in medicine.

Method - Administration of the Information Skills Survey to two groups of medical students. To confirm the validity of the results, follow up questions and interviews were also conducted. Statistical analysis was carried out to determine the internal consistency of the questions in relation to the Information Literacy Standards and also to determine the statistical significance of the results.

Results - The two groups of students reported similar results for a number of the tested skills. However, several areas of difference were also identified. The main areas of difference between the two groups were the questions that can be interpreted as being related to clinical practice. This was also emphasised in the interviews.

Conclusions - The Information Skills Survey is a useful tool to investigate the information literacy skills of groups of medical students who are in their early years of study. Further research needs to be done to develop valid questions for medical students in the clinical years. This would reflect the different information resources that are used in clinical practice.

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