INFORMATION LITERACY COMPETENCE AND USE OF INFORMATION RESOURCES BY MEDICAL STUDENTS IN TWO UNIVERSITIES IN LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
University libraries are set up to provide the information requirements of students, staff, and others within the institution community. Oyewusi and Oyeboade, (2009) Stated that the key reason for establishing university libraries is to uphold the teaching, learning, and research in a manner reliable with, and helpful of, the institution’s mission and goals. Moreover, the library resources and services should be satisfactory in worth, depth, variety, and up to date to support the institution’s curriculum. Iyanda and Salawu (2006) defined the library as an educational and self improvement place that functions as a vital component of a university or a school. Adeoye and Popoola (2011) stated that libraries make available information resources that offer knowledge attainment, for leisure, for individual interest and lastly for inter-personal relations for every group of clientele; however in an academic environment, attention is placed basically on academic, non-academic staff, students and researchers.
Information resources/library resources on the other hand according to Popoola and Haliso (2009) are all manner of information materials which are both printed and electronic formats: Like textbooks, journals, indexes, abstracts, newspapers and magazines, reports, CD-ROM databases, internet/E-mail, video tapes/cassettes, diskettes magnetic disk, computers, micro forms etc. In time past, library resources were usually in the print format like books, journals, encyclopedias, gazetteers, atlases, newspapers, and maps, and also audiovisual materials like records, audiocassettes, videocassettes, etc. But with the adva ncement in technology, most libraries have now expanded their collections to include electronic resources such as: CD-ROM, online databases, e-books, e-journals. The change in formats of information resources and their availability, which is now in various media, calls for users of libraries to be guided and educated in their use. To educate users, most university libraries organize seminars, one on one instruction and orientation for new students in order to continually update users with knowledge on the retrieval and ethical use of information resources which is also known as information literacy.
The term Information literacy is synonymous to user education and orientation in the use of libraries. Information literacy has been expanded to deal with the needs by the concept such as information over load brought about by the speedy growth in digital technologies, and the desire of the information society for competent information patrons, and as well as meet with the prerequisites of the knowledge economy for a sensitive and well-versed labour force amongst medical practitioners (Andretta, 2005).
Bruce (2003), affirmed that information literacy is further than the capacity to read and write any type of information to the desired audience, it is also the capability to locate, access, evaluate, organize and use information to learn, solve problems and make right decisions, in any contexts, either at work, at home and even in learning situations. Information literacy competence as described by Kovalik, Jesen, Schloman and Tipton (2010) is an individual’s aptitude to recognize the need for information, and be capable of identifying, locating, evaluating, and effectively use the information for the problem. Mitchell (2009) specified that information literacy skills are displayed by ideas such as the abilities to find, retrieve, and use information, the capability to handle information, and the ability to make decisive choices about information resources.
Pejowa (2002) added that the inadequate information literacy competencies possess by users of information resources in developing nations like Nigeria might continue to under use technology related resources that are provided for their use cause of low information literacy skills, there by leading to waste of resources. Boekhorst (2003) observed that every single definition or whichever way IL has been described or brought to the fore over the years can only be reduced into three concepts such as: The concept of Information Communication Technology, this refers to the competence which is required for the utilization of I CT for retrieval and dissemination of information. The information resources concept, this is the competence required to locate and make use of information by one’s self or by means of the help of intermediaries, lastly,, the information process concept of information literacy, this means the process of knowing the need for information, getting information, assessing, using and disseminating information to obtain or expand knowledge. Both the ICT and use of information sources are all included in the concept.
Several studies (Sahead & Saad (2012); Ojo and Akande (2005) corroborated with the fact that users/students of the library are often confronted with the challenge to effectively and efficiently locate, evaluate, manage and use information from a variety of sources. These challenges not only hinder the effective use of library resources but also result in time wastage for library users. Sahak and Saad (2012) investigated the usage of information resources, services and facilities among first and third – year medical students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Putra Malaysia (UPM). All respondents, 205 (100%) claimed that they visited the library to study and use the Internet. Majority of the students 199 (97.1%) also regularly visited the library to do their assignments discussions with friends. Online databases, library (OPAC), project papers, full text journals, encyclopedia, thesis and statistical reports were, however, found to be less frequently used. The low rate of use allied with these resources, particularly the OPAC which is the pointer to library resources implies that respondents may possibly have poor knowledge of how to exploit these resources due to lack of information literacy skills.
In the same view, Ojo and Akande (2005) examined undergraduates’ access, usage and awareness of e-resources at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Nigeria. The study establishes the low level of electronic resources usage. It also acknowledged the lack of information retrieval skill for exploiting e-resources as a major restriction to the use of information resources. It is in line with this that Mwiges (1990) as cited in Kavulya (2003) commented that not being familiar with exploring, discovering and retrieving information from the library sources, bring about a waste of time going through wrong sources and using retrieval tools on trial and error basis. The concept of information literacy is vital to the library profession; hence, the Association of College and Research Libraries, (ACRL, 2000) provided a standard for information literacy in higher education. The standard asserts that information literate individuals should be able to: discern the extent of information needed, access the needed information effectively and efficiently, evaluate information and its sources, assimilate information into one’s knowledge base, use information effectively to achieve the particular goal, comprehend the economic, legal, and social matters that has to do with the use of information and also the access, ethical and legal use information.
On the basis of this affirmation, it is evident that users of information resources should possess information literacy competence so that they can benefit from the information resources available to them. In order to be abreast and effectively respond to an always -changing technological environment, all categories of users of information resources need not only knowledge base, but they also need techniques for exploring it, this in turn will connect to other knowledge bases and thus making practical use of it for rational decision-making or problem solving in their area of specialization; In order for students to access and use the various information resources that meet up their needs, they have to acquire information literacy competence and knowledge to use the available resources (Owusu-Ansah, 2004).
Medical students are acquiring university education and training for lifelong learning to serve as information providers and medical practitioners. Hence it is vital for medical students to acquire information literacy competencies to enable them to discern when and why information is required, where to find it, how to evaluate, use and communicate information ethically and legally. Lifelong learning will help a medical student to have a profound understanding of how and where to find information, and also the ability to evaluate if that information is important or not, and how best that information can be integrated into solving the problem. Information literacy enables students’ to get used to and comprehend course content and widen their study further than the classroom, this will make students become more autonomous and will help them to take good control over their own learning activities.
Nevertheless, medical students need knowledge and competence to explore the information resources of the university library. Due to the importance of technology in the provision of information in the 21st Century, information literacy can no more be considered or be defined without taking into consideration technology literacy. For individuals to function in an information rich, technology infused world, it is imperative, for everyone to be ICT literate because Information and Communication Technology (ICT) literacy will empower and allow individual or groups and indeed medical students to work productively in their search for information.
Medical students in universities in Lagos State are, therefore, expected to possess all the attributes and competencies necessary to: determine the extent of information needed, access needed information effectively and efficiently, evaluate information and its’ sources critically, incorporate selected information into one’s intellectual capacity, use information effectively to bring about a specific purpose understand the economic, legal, and the social issues surrounding the use of information. bearing in mind the challenges associated with the lack of competencies needed to access and use library resources and the inappropriate or unethical use of electronic information resources generally referred to as “cut and paste” which has come to characterize information use due to the ease of copying electronic materials, this study, therefore, investigates the information literacy competency and use of information resources by medical students in universities in some Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Information literacy competency is essential in today’s information- rich environment due to the rapid growth in information resources which comes in various media and with the advancement in information communication technology (ICT). Literature has also established the importance of information literacy, as a means of empowering people in all walks of life to access, evaluate and use information effectively and efficiently to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals. However, observation and research indicate that medical students encounter difficulty when using library resources which could be attributed to the fact that they lack search or retrieval competencies for exploiting resources, thus, making the level of use of resources very low. Likewise, information retrieval tools are often used on a trial and error basis, thereby resulting in time wasting.
No matter how rich or enormous the resources provided by the library, without the competencies to use them, these resources will end up wasted. Therefore, it is pertinent to carry out a research to investigate the information literacy competence and use of information resources by medical students in universities in some Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between information literacy competence and use of information resources by medical students in universities in some Lagos State. The specific objectives are to:
- examine the types of information resources available to medical students in universities in Lagos State;
- ascertain the use of information resources by medical students in universities in Lagos State;
- determine the degree of information literacy competency of medical students in universities in Lagos State;
- establish the relationship between information literacy competence and the use of information resources by medical students in universities in Lagos State and
- find out the challenges medical students face in acquiring information literacy competence in universities in Lagos State.
1.4 Research Questions
This study was guided by the following research questions:
- What are the types of information resources available to medical students in universities in Lagos State?
- To what extent do medical students in universities in Lagos State use information resources?
- What is the degree of information literacy competency of medical students in universities in Lagos State?
4. What challenges do Medical Students face in acquiring information literacy competence in universities in Lagos State?
The null hypothesis for this study was tested at 0.05 level of significance:
Ho1There is no significant relationship between information literacy competence and
use of information resources by medical students.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The focus of this study was limited to information literacy competence as it influenced the efficient and effective use of information resources required for the medical students’ academic, personal and professional purposes. Information literacy competence was be measured in terms of their ability to: Identify, Scope (assess), Plan, Gather, Evaluate, Manage and Present information. On the other hand, use of information resources was considered in terms of print and electronic resources except for audio-visual resources such as microforms and filmstrips because these facilities are obsolete. It also considered the information resources available to medical students, purpose of use, frequency of use and ease of use.
The geographical location of this study was limited to medical students in Lagos State. A total of 387 students in their 3rd year of study from two universities in Lagos State constituted the research population. The research focused only on 300 level medical students because 100 and 200 level medical students still do general courses while the 300 level students have specialization areas such as the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and the Bachelor of Dentistry Surgery (BDS) respectively. On the other hand the 400, 500 and 600 level medical students are posted out for clinical practice and consequently, they could not be included in this study
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study would create awareness among students on the need to possess information literacy competence in order to increase their search efficiency thus bringing about effective and efficient use of information resources. It would further expose information providers and librarians to the challenges faced by users/students in locating and using information resources both in print and electronic format. The finding of this study would equally enable policy makers in the library to put in place machinery to assist library users with the acquisition of information literacy competencies in order to reduce challenges faced in the quest for information. Finally, it would contribute to existing literature on information literacy
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined as used in the context of this study:
Library: it is a storehouse of knowledge wherein all human knowledge in various formats are acquired, processed, organized, and preserved for easy retrieval and use by patrons.
Information Resources: These are print and non- print resources that could be sourced or accessed manually or electronically by information seekers in the library. Such as: books, journal, monographs, magazines, on-line databases, e-books, e-journals, audio books etc.
Information Literacy: Information literacy is the ability to locate, evaluate, manage and use information resources from a variety of sources for problem solving, decision-making and research purposes
Information literacy competency: This is the knowledge, skills and attitude which are applied towards recognizing information and is used to interpret, locate, access, retrieve, use and communicate information ethically and legally to a particular situation for successful learning and living.
Use of Information resources: This is the utilization of both print and electronic resources and this is measured in terms of frequency, purpose, ease of access and use.
Medical Students: A university student who has not yet earned bachelor’s of MBBS or BDS degree.
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