Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Study: MTSU freshmen need library instruction

In a recent study, 368 of MTSU's incoming freshmen participated in Project SAILS (Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills) through their Fall 2009 University Seminar classes. This project, created by researchers at Kent State University, seeks to measure undergraduates' research skills through a standardized test and compares them to students from peer institutions. The test measures eight unique skill sets:
  1. developing a research strategy
  2. selecting finding tools
  3. searching
  4. using finding tool features
  5. retrieving sources
  6. evaluating sources
  7. documenting sources
  8. understanding economic, legal, and social issues related to information
MTSU's participation in this study found that:
  • MTSU's incoming freshmen score, on average, score lower than their counterparts at peer institutions on all eight skill sets.
  • MTSU freshmen scored highest on selecting finding tools, but their biggest weakness was retrieving sources.
  • There is a great need for teaching faculty to bring their classes to the library for library research instruction.
The Walker Library's participation in this project was funded through an MTSU Instructional Evaluation and Development Grant. A copy of the full score report can be found here:

Questions? Please contact Jason Vance, Information Literacy Librarian, at jvance@mtsu.edu or 615-494-7871.

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