X Close

DIS Student Blog

Home

Department of Information Studies

Menu

“Evaluating Information Literacy Educators’ Practices”: Journal Club Report by Emily Delahaye

AnneWelsh5 December 2014

ResearchBlogging.org

Andretta, S. (2011). Evaluating information literacy educators’ practices before and after the course facilitating information literacy education: from tutor to learner-centred Health Information & Libraries Journal, 28 (3), 171-178 DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2011.00946.x

Article summary:

Susie Andretta analyses the impact that an intensive course at London Metropolitan University, ‘Facilitating Information Literacy Education’ (FILE), has had on healthcare librarians, and their ability to teach information literacy (IL) skills. FILE aims to change teaching by librarians, from being tutor-centred to learner-centred. It also aims to make teaching more evidence-based, reflecting the importance of evidence-based practice in healthcare, and evidence-based library and information practice. The author surveyed students that had completed the course between 2007 and 2010, to learn about their teaching styles before and after attending the FILE course. 19 out of 21 respondents stated that FILE had had a substantial impact on the way they delivered IL training. One librarian volunteered that they now incorporated hands on activities into their sessions to make them more learner-centred. However, having too large a number of participants in IL training was identified as an obstacle to becoming learner-centred, as some librarians did not have time to learn about the needs of all their users in advance of sessions. The research in this article will be followed by interviews with participants to gain more of an insight into this area of study.

Discussion:

Discussion began with talking about the focus of the article – teaching healthcare librarians how to teach IL to library users effectively. It was suggested that the article was particularly appropriate to us, as MA LIS students, as we are sharpening our own digital literacy skills in order to complete our work, and, after graduation, we will be going out into the world of libraries to pass this onto users. The role of journals in scholarly communication was also touched on. This article represents the preliminary part of Andretta’s research, and instead of waiting to finish her research and then publish, it makes sense to disseminate as you go. Journals are the perfect format for that.We then looked at the article in more depth. Methodology was the first topic raised. One member of the group felt that the number of people surveyed was too few to enable the author to draw strong conclusions. Out of 58 librarians invited to take part in the survey, only 21 responded.

We were also not sure why gender had been used as a means to distinguish anonymised participants, e.g 19M and 12F . It was speculated that there might have been an explanation for this which, when the article was edited, was thought of as unnecessary and taken out. Alternatively, it might have been hypothesised that gender would have an impact, and this turned out to not be the case. Another suggestion, following on from the first comments on disseminating findings continuously throughout the research process, was that gender might play a role in the author’s larger research project.

The article uses a self-reflective survey as it’s methodology. Following this we questioned what other measures could be used to analyse teaching, and to test whether this type of  training had an impact on teaching or not. It was suggested that to see if there was improvement, a researcher would first need to define goals that teaching needed to achieve, to be classed as successful.

In the field of healthcare, a skills needs assessment was proposed as an appropriate method for collecting information about what users need to know, which can be followed up on in training. This was put forward as appropriate, as evaluating needs and prioritising is what happens in healthcare constantly in order to provide good care. In the article it did focus on the evaluative process that librarians brought to their sessions, as a result of FILE, in order to have learners reflect on what they have learnt.
This was the last journal club meeting of 2014, looking forward to more sessions next term!
—–

Emily Delahaye (@EmilyDelahaye) is studying full-time for her MA LIS, while working part-time.​ 

Journal Club takes place once a month, and is facilitated by Charlie Inskip and Anne Welsh, with organisational support from Laura Keshav. This year we are discussing three articles on the theme of Information Literacy and three on more general topics. Discussion is led by students, and covers the research methods of the article and its contents, which are then used as a springboard to students’ experiences with regard to the topics raised by the article. The Club is open solely to students in the Department of Information Studies.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Emily Delahaye is is the sole author of this piece, drawing on the contributions of the students at Journal Club on Tuesday evening.

Get better search results

Tara-LeePlatt4 December 2014

Image modified under Creative Commons Licence. Indexing and abstracting databases are key to producing good, robust research but they can be daunting and  confusing and it is tempting to stick with the familiarity of Google and Google Scholar.  To get some advice on  searches for your assignments, come along to a search skills surgery, where you can pick up some tips and develop your confidence in using A&I databases.

The surgery, run by Tara your subject librarian, will take place on:

Tuesday 9th December 11:00-12:00 Room G31

This is a drop in session so come along at any time within the hour, armed with any troublesome searches and questions you have.

We’ll primarily be looking at the following databases as they’re key to DIS:

  • LISA  – Index of journal articles in librarianship and information science, including archives and records management, publishing and some material relating to Digital Humanities. Includes abstracts from over 440 periodicals from more than 68 countries and in more than 20 different languages.
  • Library and Information Science Source – Content includes full text for more than 460 publications and indexing for hundreds of high-quality journals, as well as books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage encompasses librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more.
  • INSPEC – a bibliographic information database covering the fields of physics, electronics, computing, control engineering and information technology with more than 7.7 million records taken from 3,500 technical and scientific journals and 1,500 conference proceedings.
  • SCOPUS – multi-disciplinary database containing references to journal articles, conference proceedings, trade publications, book series and web resources.

If you can’t make this session please feel free to drop me an email with your queries.

Please note these sessions are only open to students in the UCL Department of Information Studies

“How Today’s College Students Use Wikipedia”: Journal Club Report by Helena Hollis

AnneWelsh13 November 2014

ResearchBlogging.org

Head, A., & Eisenberg, M. (2010). How today’s college students use Wikipedia for course-related research First Monday, 15 (3) DOI: 10.5210/fm.v15i3.2830

Article summary:

This article presents the focus group and survey data from on-going research by Head and Eisenberg in the US. It looks at the usage of Wikipedia by university level students, specifically addressing how much Wikipedia is used, when it is used, what it is used for, and what other information sources students also report consulting. Findings show that Wikipedia is not used alone, but with other sources also, and is predominantly used for early stages of searching as a familiarisation reference.

 

Discussion:

Discussion commenced with a comparison of how we ourselves use Wikipedia, with the main consensus being that it is used to look up definitions. In this respect, our own behaviours with Wikipedia use were similar to the findings of the paper. It was also noted that Wikipedia is used for fun, with the serendipity of following Wikipedia links to new information being desirable and enjoyable. It was also noted that Wikipedia is useful for looking at subject matter with which validity is not a high priority. The familiarity of the Wikipedia layout was identified as a key attraction.

 

Looking at the paper itself, the data gathering methodology was criticised. The sample size of the focus groups was very small, and these focus groups were used to formulate the wider questionnaire. No comment was made as to how focus groups were selected. The wider questionnaire itself had a more substantial sample size. However, this was a largely female and humanities-studying sample, and therefore is not generalizable to the wider university population. It is worth noting that the authors are aware of this constraint, and present their conclusions with this clearly stated.

 

Some specific findings of the survey were discussed and critiqued. For instance, the authors found that Google users were more likely to use Wikipedia. This could be due to Wikipedia typically ranking highly in Google search results. However, since Google users made up almost all of the respondents, and non-Google users were limited in number, this conclusion is not as clear as it may first appear. It was noted that 2 year institutions had better research methods training than 4 year institutions, which was a surprising finding.

 

Discussion moved on to comparing the findings of the study with experience of school librarians, thinking about how college students compare to children in their use of Wikipedia. The school librarians felt that children use Wikipedia, and they are aware that is not credible. It was pointed out that in the past, children would simply use a paper encyclopaedia – this may not be better than Wikipedia, and is still a single source, therefore is arguably as ‘lazy’ a research strategy as relying on Wikipedia today.  It was noted that this is perhaps the main source of hostility from teachers and librarians towards Wikipedia; it is not necessarily the fact that it contains misinformation that can be the problem, but that it is treated as the only research source.

 

We then discussed the importance of Information Literacy (IL) training. It was agreed that IL could be taught early, leading to better searching behaviours, which would help curb the extent to which Wikipedia is used as the sole source of information. The observation was shared that students from different schools coming into a library can show different levels of preparedness, leading to very different searching methods. In the UK, the EPQ qualification was talked about as an example of a very good IL teaching programme. Some broader issues in IL were talked about, and it was noted that a good source can still be used badly, and therefore Wikipedia should not be treated as the epitome of bad research.

 

Overall, it was felt that this paper was interesting, and the findings were inline with our experiences. The authors’ honesty about their limitations was commendable. Their conclusions seemed justified.​

—–

Helena Hollis is studying part-time for her MA LIS, while working in an academic library.

Journal Club takes place once a month, and is facilitated by Charlie Inskip and Anne Welsh, with organisational support from Laura Keshav. This year we are discussing three articles on the theme of Information Literacy and three on more general topics. Discussion is led by students, and covers the research methods of the article and its contents, which are then used as a springboard to students’ experiences with regard to the topics raised by the article. The Club is open solely to students in the Department of Information Studies.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Helena Hollis is the sole author of this piece, drawing on the contributions of the students at Journal Club on Tuesday evening.

 

University College School Visit by Joanne McPhie, Emily Delahaye and Catherine Ascough

AnneWelsh10 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-10 at 09.08.27

Editorial Note: We are grateful to Rebecca Hemming and her colleagues for hosting this Induction Week visit to University College School. – Anne Welsh, Programme Director MA Library and Information Studies.

—–

In the leafy streets of Hampstead nestles the University College Senior School, first conceived as a feeder school for the newly established University College in London in 1830. The school continues to be influenced by those early days, with an emphasis on a good liberal education and a tolerant approach. We chose to go on the University College School visit on Thursday of Induction Week as we knew very little about this kind of library. We weren’t disappointed – the staff at the library answered all our questions and told us about their work, leaving us with no doubt that school libraries are a very interesting and dynamic sector to work in. Our visit was to see the well-appointed two floor library and we were welcomed by a team of dedicated librarians, led by Rebecca Hemming, the Head of the Library.

The collections of the library are a mix of fiction and non-fiction and their primary purpose is to support the curriculum. The main part of the library houses the non-fiction collection, compiled to compliment the school syllabus and provide extra resources. The main reading room area houses the fiction collection, split into sections for the younger and older pupils so that students can easily find books of an appropriate level. The library also has a wide selection of print journals as well as subscriptions to online access. While most of the journals where tailored to general study it was also good to see Private Eye and Le Monde on the stands.

We were particularly impressed by the different means the librarian and her team used to foster a love of reading in the pupils. Teenage boys can be reluctant readers, so at the UCS Library they have imaginative methods to overcome this. An example of this was a display shelf full of books covered in coloured paper, with intriguing sentences written on them about the stories they contained. This is to try and encourage the students to not be judgemental about a book’s cover, as this is covered up, and instead take a gamble on a book that piques their interest from its description. The library is currently in the process of adding greater detail to the catalogue records for their literature collection, by adding the blurbs of the books, so that when students look up books online, before coming to the library, they can find something that appeals to them.

One of the many notable aspects of the role of the librarians at UCS is the extent to which teaching information literacy and providing subject support is a central part of the job. Two of the three full time staff are dual qualified with teaching and library qualifications and lead information skills sessions in the library teaching space dedicated to introducing the students to resources like JSTOR or coaching them on how to evaluate websites. The school has its own virtual learning environment includes a section for the library which has been modified by the library staff to create Subject Guides and modules on topics such as citation and referencing. There is also a certain amount of liaison with individual departments, working with the teachers to obtain resources that support the curriculum. It was interesting to see the services and support that UCS librarians provide is akin to Subject Liaison roles in a university context.

We really enjoyed the visit to UCS library – some of us were already planning on taking the Services to Children and Young People module next term, and this has definitely helped confirm that choice.

—–

Emily Delahaye (@EmilyDelahaye),  Joanne McPhie (@JoanneMcPhie) and Catherine Ascough are all studying for their MA LIS.

Image: University College School website.

Note: the appearance of the byline on this post is auto-generated, indicating that it was posted by Anne Welsh. Apart from the editorial note, Catherine Ascough, Emily Delahaye and Joanne McPhie are the sole authors of this piece.