Investigating the efficacy of embedment: experiments in information literacy integration

Meagan Bowler (Mount Royal College, Calgary, Canada)
Kori Street (Mount Royal College, Calgary, Canada)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 14 November 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to present the findings of a series of experiments in embedding a librarian at a variety of levels into the undergraduate classroom. This study aimed to determine whether different levels of librarian embedment correlated with improvement in undergraduate students' information literacy (IL) skills.

Design/methodology/approach

Students from five undergraduate History courses and two undergraduate Women's Studies courses participated in the study. A librarian was embedded in each of the courses, at a variety of levels across courses. All student assignments were graded using a standardized rubric. Students' IL skills were assessed using the research component of the rubric, which measured their ability to locate, retrieve, evaluate, and incorporate sources into their assignments. Students' research and overall scores on their initial problem‐based learning (PBL) assignments and written assignments were compared to their final assignment scores in order to assess improvement over the course of the term.

Findings

There was significant improvement in students' scores when a librarian was conspicuously and obviously embedded in the academic classroom. Students' scores showed little improvement when the librarian was embedded but not explicitly identified as a specialist in information literacy, and when the researchers attempted to embed information literacy seamlessly in the classroom.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted only in courses in the Humanities.

Practical implications

This study suggests that students' IL skills improve most when IL is identified in the classroom as a specialized subject taught by a highly trained specialist. The methodology used may be useful for others studying the impact of IL instruction.

Originality/value

Although embedding has been studied and reported on in the literature in a variety of contexts, the study of different levels of embedding, quantified using the same rubric is unique.

Keywords

Citation

Bowler, M. and Street, K. (2008), "Investigating the efficacy of embedment: experiments in information literacy integration", Reference Services Review, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 438-449. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320810920397

Download as .RIS

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.