Assessment of Information Literacy Skills of Undergraduate Medical Students in Selected Public Universities in Kenya

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Assessment of Information Literacy Skills of Undergraduate Medical Students in Selected Public Universities in Kenya

This study was conceived with the aim of investigating information literacy skills (ILS) of medical undergraduate students in selected public universities in Kenya, with a view of proposing a framework to enhance delivery and utilisation of the information literacy skills in institutions of higher learning. Baro (2013) assert that for a medical practitioner or student to derive maximum benefits from information he/she must possess information literacy skills. However, literature reveals that in Kenya, there is no national policy on ILS. Information literacy skills-related training is an individual institutional matter. Further, medical practitioners prefer using human sources instead of online databases or print sources that are readily available because of low information literacy skills. In this line, most medical students do not know how to refine search strategies, lack of skills on how to deal with information explosion and on appropriate use to avoid plagiarizing published scientific work. Majority of learners do not know how to evaluate the credibility of online information sources and the teaching of ILS is inadequate. The objectives of the study were to: Examine the status of information literacy skills offered to medical undergraduate students at University of Nairobi and Moi University and ascertain the usefulness of these skills; examine the information literacy skills curriculum and assess the methods used in delivering the programme to undergraduate medical students in the two universities; analyze the adequacy of policies and regulations supporting information skills literacy programmes in the two institutions; determine the perceptions of undergraduate medical undergraduate students towards ILS; Lukenya University Multidisciplinary Journal (LUMJ), Vol.1, August 25, 2021, ISSN 2663-3183 | 242 assess knowledge, skills and training possessed by staff engaged in facilitating ILS among medical undergraduate students; examine the role of ICT in facilitating and promoting information literacy skills among medical undergraduate students at the University of Nairobi and Moi University; and find out the challenges in ILS delivery and develop a framework to enhance ILS among medical undergraduate students in the University of Nairobi and Moi University. The study was guided by both the Sauce Model as developed by Bond (2009) and the Six Frames of Information Literacy Education Model as developed by Bruce, Edwards & Lupton, (2015). The study utilized the pragmatic research paradigm with mixed method approach. Additionally, multiple case design and convergent parallel design were adopted in data collection. The two universities were purposively selected that is University of Nairobi and Moi University. The students were stratified into their area of specialization and purposive sampling applied in selecting 182 respondents in 6th year medicine, 4th year nursing and 5th year dentistry. A sample size of 182 lecturers were selected through purposive and simple random sampling strategy. Purposive sampling techniques was utilized to select 2 university librarians, 2 medical librarians, and 6 Heads of Department (HODs). Data was collected using interviews, questionnaires and document reviews. To ascertain validity, triangulation of different data sources was carried out. Reliability of the study was tested through internal consistency technique and Cronbach‘s alpha. Finally analysis of data was carried out quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings indicate that the two universities which were sampled had initiated information literacy skills programmes in form of communication skills unit, with varied goals and objectives, majority of the students had not earned information literacy skills, meaning that they would experience problems in retrieving and utilizing information resources. However, most respondents indicated that the information literacy programmes should be designed to ensure that all users are literate in the use of both printed and electronic resources in the library. It is envisaged that the findings will enable public and private universities develop a befitting information literacy skills curricula that would benefit students to become effective users of information resources. The recommendations will inform the librarians, lecturers, university administrators, curriculum planners and education administrators on the importance of information literacy skills in the learning and training process.

Key Words: Assessment, Communication skills, Curriculum, Electronic Information Resource, Information and Communication Technology, Information literacy, Information literacy program, Information skills / Library skills, Information Professional/ Specialists, Information Seeking Behavior, Information Sources, Library User Education

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