Developing occupational therapy students’ information and historical literacy competencies: an interprofessional collaborative project

Rita P. Fleming-Castaldy


Objective: The study examined the efficacy of an interprofessional information and historical literacy project implemented by an occupational therapy educator and a librarian.

Methods: A graduate course was revised to include information and historical literacy objectives and instruction. A course-specific questionnaire administered on the first and last day of class, assignment grades, and course evaluations provided measures of project outcomes for six years. Differences between questionnaire pre- and post-test means were determined using t-tests. Course evaluation comments were analyzed to obtain qualitative perceptions.

Results: A significant difference (p<0.0001) was found between pre-test (M=3.93, SD=0.48) and post-test (M=4.67, SD=0.30) scores of total information and historical literacy competence across all years (n=242). Responses to individual items also differed significantly (p<0.0001). Student ratings (n=189) from the course evaluation historical literacy objectives were high (M=4.6 on a 5-point scale). Assignment quality and grades improved, and course evaluation comments reflected student satisfaction.

Conclusions: The findings supported the hypothesis that students’ self-reported information and historical literacy competencies would increase after project participation. Acquired skills were evident in students’ assignments. Research to determine if these capabilities were used post-graduation is needed. Because this was a course-specific project, findings are not generalizable; however, the instructional methods developed for this project can serve as a model for effective interprofessional collaboration. The broadening of information literacy instruction to include discipline-specific historical literacy provides a unique opportunity for health sciences librarians and educators. Developing students’ historical literacy in their chosen fields can help them understand their profession’s present status and be informed participants in shaping its future.


Information Literacy; Interprofessional Collaboration; Historical Literacy; Occupational Therapy Education; Occupational Therapy History

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