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Information Literacy Skill Development and Assessment in Engineering

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.748.1 - 24.748.7



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Paper Authors

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Senay Purzer Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Michael Fosmire Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16


Amy S. Van Epps Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Prof. Van Epps has a BA in engineering science from Lafayette College, her MSLS from Catholic University of America, a M.Eng. in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently working on her PhD in Engineering Education at Purdue.

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Ruth E. H. Wertz Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16


Kerrie A Douglas Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Anna Douglas is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Purdue University's Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning. She received her B.A. in Psychology, M.S. Ed. in School Counseling, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis on Research Methods and Measurement from Purdue University. Her research focuses on assessment and evaluation in engineering education.

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Information Literacy Skill Development and Assessment in EngineeringPrior literature, as well as our own research findings, indicate that undergraduate students haveunderdeveloped self-directed learning skills, especially in the area of information literacy. Thislack of knowledge and skills, which are critical for life-long learning, present a hurdle forengineering graduates who must constantly renew and expand their skills in our rapidly changingknowledge-based society. While research on college students’ general self-directed learning andinformation-literacy skills is rich, many of these studies and related assessment instruments focuson topics in social science and rarely explicitly include, or are specific to, engineering.In order to address these gaps, we need robust curricula that target information literacy skills andattributes necessary to enable life-long learning. Even more importantly, however, we needuseful assessment tools that will provide a better understanding of engineering students’ self-directed learning skills and a valid measure of how these skills improve. While there areassessment instruments that address these skills, most of them focus on information search skills.In this project, we aim to develop two valid and reliable information literacy assessments (amultiple choice skill test and a Likert-scale perception survey) that can be used to diagnoseengineering students’ self-directed learning with a focus on information literacy skills andattitudes.A key strength of this project is the strong partnership between engineering and library faculty.Through a one-year seed grant from Purdue’s Engineer of 2020 program, the project teamdeveloped and pilot-tested two assessment instruments. These instruments werepsychometrically evaluated and then compared to a more authentic and direct measure ofinformation literacy, namely an open-ended memo assignment that required students to conductresearch to complete. Preliminary results provided some promising validity and reliabilityevidence for these instruments; however, further evaluation is necessary prior to widerdissemination.

Purzer, S., & Fosmire, M., & Van Epps, A. S., & Wertz, R. E. H., & Douglas, K. A. (2014, June), Information Literacy Skill Development and Assessment in Engineering Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20640

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