Assessing Information Literacy Skills and Library Anxiety of First-year Occupational Therapy Graduate Students

Moghimi, Christine
Rickelman, Mary C.
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In today’s academic environment, students equipped with self-regulated learning and information literacy (IL) skills have an excellent opportunity for professional success given the current information-based practices in health care. Purposefully providing IL instruction to students early in their coursework will help them develop competent research skills applicable to their remaining studies and scholarly projects. Along with IL challenges, students can experience “library anxiety,” which the literature identifies as a contributing factor to poor academic performance. This study explored components of library anxiety in Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students and identified opportunities for IL training that could help students become more confident and proficient in analyzing research publications. The study was embedded in a class assignment, that had the students, in small groups, connect with a university librarian for a one-hour research consultation and review of library resources. Participants in the study completed a pre- and post-survey of 17 questions utilizing a 4-point Likert scale. The results indicated that the students experienced significant positive change in their confidence level with utilization of research tools. Results also showed that students had increased comfort in seeking help while using the university library. The study suggests that the students’ ability to find and assess quality research material will only improve with practice. Despite the availability of new technology that does not necessitate human contact to facilitate research, face-to-face interactions are the most effective mode of communication for questions that are involved and complex, such as graduate students’ scholarly projects.
Moghimi, C., & Rickelman, M. C. (2021). Assessing information literacy skills and library anxiety of first-year occupational therapy graduate students. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 5(1), Article 4.