Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





electronic resources environment, empirical studies, graduate students, information literacy skills status, information literacy training


George Zhou




This study examines the information literacy skills of graduate students at the University of Windsor. The study encompassed a quantitative survey questionnaire administered to 137 graduate students and a qualitative component that involved semi-structured, open-ended focus groups with 17 graduate students. The quantitative component was based on the modified Beile O’Neil Test of Information Literacy for Education (B-TILED), an online survey instrument that measured information-literacy related skills. The survey questions were sorted into seven categories: “demographic information”; “knowledge of library services”; “search strategy”; “knowledge of electronic resources”; “information literacy assessment”; “citation”; and “ethical considerations and copyright.” SPSS was used to analyze the online survey data. Statistically significant results were found for B-TILED scores on three independent variables: language spoken at home (for “search strategy,” “knowledge of electronic resources,” “citation,” and “ethical considerations and copyright”); graduate status (for “search strategy” and “citation”); and program of study (for “search strategy” and “citation”). Results for questions related to the library’s training session and library services were very low with respect to use and awareness. Focus group questions focused on information-seeking preference and knowledge of the library’s electronic resources and were based on three key terms: “material’s format preference”; “Google Scholar usage”; and “awareness of the library troubleshooting services.” A text search query through NVivo software generated an overview of graduate students’ perspectives. Focus group results showed that participants (a) preferred to use electronic rather than print resources; (b) came to the library to request assistance from the reference librarian, to attend meetings, and/or to use library facilities; (c) noted problems with the library website’s layout, database function, and bookmarks; and (d) preferred to use Google Scholar and other resources rather than the library’s website. This study demonstrates that participating graduate students had only a basic understanding of information literacy skills—significantly less than the level required by the Association of College & Research Libraries. They need more information literacy training, potentially through an information literacy credit course or through intensive one-on-one instruction. Particularly, increasing the collaboration between libraries and faculties to integrate effective library-led information literacy into graduate course instruction would greatly benefit graduate students’ research and overall academic success.