Information literacy is the ability to find, evaluate, and use information ethically. Many students are not taught these skills in high school, and often do not realize their deficiencies until their first year of college when they are presented with assignments requiring quality academic sources. It is crucial to reach students early in their college career to instill information literacy skills into their scholarly endeavors. To help remedy this deficiency, academic librarians collaborate with teaching faculty to provide information literacy instruction sessions to their classes, providing students with a basic introduction to the library to advanced research skills. While important to an engineer over the course of their studies and professional practice, little has been done to integrate information literacy to engineering curriculum.
Those studies that have examined information literacy, focus on the self-perceived skills of upper-division students in design courses ; are for a singular major course  or are focused on the transactional nature of information literacy- how to evaluate instead of the integration and synthesis of research [3,4]. Those that do examine first-year students do not tie the information literacy to a research paper in the field- most are tied to a design project or no assignment at all. Moreover, studies do not work on information literacy with a diverse pool of learners- both in major and in cultural, socioeconomic and academic preparation. The study analyzes the application and perception of information literacy of 411 first-year students in the college of engineering at a public university. The students are from each of the ABET accredited engineering and engineering technology majors offered in the college and all were deemed academically ready for college-level English. The study used direct and indirect evidence to assess the effectiveness of the information literacy instruction and address the following:
Does intentional information literacy instruction impact the quality of research produces by first-year students? Does the type of intervention make a difference? The goal of the project is to not only increase students’ information literacy but to move them from the content frame of information literacy described by Bruce, Edwards and Lupton , to the relational frame making the first-year students more ready to be critical of information and to see their information literacy skills as part of their content skills.
To address these questions, data was gathered directly and indirectly. The first source of data is a pre- and post-assessment for students on self-perceived information literacy. As indicated by Gross and Latham  these are often over-inflated and not a reliable measure of students’ actual information literacy skills. To balance this, direct evidence was collected from students. To meet the general education learning outcomes, each student completed a research paper to synthesize current research in their field addressing one of the 14 grand challenges of engineering. Each of these papers were scored on a rubric that measured the proficiency of mechanics of the paper and proper IEEE formatting, the quality, and quantity of resources used in the paper and the level of synthesis of the information. To have a more rounded picture of the impact the instruction made on student learning, the students were also asked to submit a paper completed before the information literacy sessions.
The instruction (except in cases where there was no instruction) was planned to follow the Association of Colleges and Research Libraries (ACRL) information literacy standards for science and technology. There were four different delivery methods of the information literacy- “one-shot” in the classroom, “one-shot” in the library, an extended three-part series in the library and no instruction with the engineering librarian at all. To determine the effectiveness of the instruction, various statistical techniques including MANOVAs were completed to compare the gains in perceived skill, as well as to compare the scores across sections of the synthesis paper as well as the student compared to themselves.
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