Assessment of knowledge and skills in information literacy instruction for rehabilitation sciences students: a scoping review


  • Jill T. Boruff Associate Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC
  • Pamela Harrison Librarian, Knowledge Resource Service, Rockyview General Hospital, Calgary, AB



Information Literacy, Evidence-Based Practice, Assessment, Allied Health, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Speech-Language Pathology


Objective: This scoping review investigates how knowledge and skills are assessed in the information literacy (IL) instruction for students in physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language pathology, regardless of whether the instruction was given by a librarian. The objectives were to discover what assessment measures were used, determine whether these assessment methods were tested for reliability and validity, and provide librarians with guidance on assessment methods to use in their instruction in evidence-based practice contexts.

Methods: A scoping review methodology was used. A systematic search strategy was run in Ovid MEDLINE and adapted for CINAHL; EMBASE; Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) (EBSCO); Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA); Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (LISTA); and Proquest Theses and Dissertations from 1990 to January 16, 2017. Forty articles were included for data extraction.

Results: Three major themes emerged: types of measures used, type and context of librarian involvement, and skills and outcomes described. Thirty-four measures of attitude and thirty-seven measures of performance were identified. Course products were the most commonly used type of performance measure. Librarians were involved in almost half the studies, most frequently as instructor, but also as author or assessor. Information literacy skills such as question formulation and database searching were described in studies that did not involve a librarian.

Conclusion: Librarians involved in instructional assessment can use rubrics such as the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) when grading assignments to improve the measurement of knowledge and skills in course-integrated IL instruction. The adapted Fresno test could be modified to better suit the real-life application of IL knowledge and skills.

Author Biographies

Jill T. Boruff, Associate Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, QC

Associate Librarian, Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering

Pamela Harrison, Librarian, Knowledge Resource Service, Rockyview General Hospital, Calgary, AB

Librarian, Knowledge Resource Service


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