Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Education

First Advisor

Martinovic, Dragana (Faculty of Education)

Keywords

Education, Technology.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

The aim of this sequential integrated mixed model design study was to examine information literacy (IL) levels and needs of graduate students in education, social studies, and humanities at the mid-size Canadian university. This was done through surveying 201 graduate students who volunteered to fill-in a quantitative questionnaire that included supplementary open-ended questions. To triangulate data and as part of the chosen methodological approach, 16 graduate students also took part in the semi-structured follow-up interviews which included observation of the participants on-task behaviour. In order to consider the IL of graduate students in the larger context of a library information ecosystem, the researcher incorporated the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Affordance Theory (AT) frameworks. The quantitative component of the study was based on the modified Beile Test of Information Literacy for Education (B-TILED) survey as an instrument to measure the participants' IL. The survey questions were organized to address the participants' demographic, academic and departmental characteristics. The statistically significant results were found for the B-TILED scores on the following three independent variables: (i) first language of participants (i.e., non-native English speakers performed lower), (ii) minimum course requirements completed for the Master's degree (i.e., students who did not complete the minimum number of courses performed lower), and (iii) the department of study (i.e., Master's of Education and Master's of Social Work students performed lower). The data from the follow-up interviews confirmed that graduate students perceived that they need more IL-related instruction, as well as a discipline-specific instruction. Findings suggest that graduate students may benefit from differentiated methods for gaining the IL skills, through frequent and more hands-on in-library, in-class, and on-line IL instruction. The conclusion of this study, points out that those who need sophisticated search and research skills, require sustained and individualized support in order to achieve the necessary comfort and mastery in doing so. Thus, with increased technological development of library tools, a generic onetime library instruction, usually given in the first semester of graduate program is not sufficient to provide the most needed IL skills.

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