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Validation of information-seeking behaviour of nursing students confirms most profiles but also indicates desirable changes for information literacy support

Peter Stokes (Anglia Ruskin University, Peterborough, UK)
Robert Priharjo (Anglia Ruskin University, Peterborough, UK)
Christine Urquhart (Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University – Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, UK)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 7 January 2021

Issue publication date: 8 April 2021




The study aims were: (1) to replicate a previous study by the first author to confirm previous findings (internal validity) and to check construct validity of previously proposed information-behaviour profiles, (2) to compare the information processes used by students in parallel with requirements of early professional practice.


A replication study used the same questionnaire, delivered online to all 175 students across three years of a BSc adult nursing degree programme on one UK university campus. The survey included questions on information seeking processes, personality, approaches to learning and self-efficacy with information literacy. The literature review examined evidence around the transition from nursing student to practitioner and the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards for nursing information literacy.


The response rate was 86/175 (49%). The result verified findings on the most frequent information processes and association between approach to learning and information literacy self-efficacy. The personality findings differed. Combining results for both studies helped confirm most of the information-behaviour profiles. Mapping the frequent information processes against requirements of practice indicated gaps, particularly around professional networking.

Research limitations/implications

As both studies were carried out at one higher education campus, further research to assess external validity is required.

Practical implications

Information-behaviour profiles, plus the mapping, help librarians and tutors develop tailored information literacy support that is clinically relevant and support transition to practice.


Validated a set of information behaviour profiles for nursing students and linked these to the requirements of professional practice.



The authors thank the referees for their constructive comments, and Dr Allen Foster for advice.


Stokes, P., Priharjo, R. and Urquhart, C. (2021), "Validation of information-seeking behaviour of nursing students confirms most profiles but also indicates desirable changes for information literacy support", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 77 No. 3, pp. 680-702.



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