Determining the information literacy needs of a medical and dental faculty

Dale Storie, Sandy Campbell

Abstract


Introduction: The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta is large and diverse. Liaison librarians at the Health Sciences Library decided in late 2009 to undertake a system-wide evaluation of the information literacy (IL) instruction being delivered to the Faculty. The goals of the evaluation were to identify current strengths and gaps in instruction, to realign teaching priorities, and to inform the development of effective asynchronous Web-based delivery mechanisms, such as interactive tutorials, to support the Faculty's move to electronic course delivery. Methods: The main data collection method was a survey of different user groups in the Faculty, including undergraduate and graduate students, residents, and faculty. Secondary data included a literature review, consultation with key collaborators and analyzing program documents. Results: All undergraduate medical students receive IL instruction. Fewer than a third of graduate students, only half of residents, and a small fraction of faculty, receive instruction. The current curriculum needs to be revised to be less repetitive. Most respondents wanted to receive training on advanced database searching, and preferred in-person instruction sessions. Web-based tutorials were the next most popular mode of delivery. Discussion: This study is one of the few medical information literacy surveys that used a broad, strategic approach to surveying all user groups at a medical school. These data provide a baseline overview of existing instruction across user groups, determine potential need for IL instruction, provide direction for what should be taught, and identify preferred methods for delivery of a comprehensive training program centered on Faculty needs.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5596/c2012-011

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