Applying an information literacy rubric to first-year health sciences student research posters

Xan Goodman, John Watts, Rogelio Arenas, Rachelle Weigel, Tony Terrell


Objective: This article describes the collection and analysis of annotated bibliographies created by first-year health sciences students to support their final poster projects. The authors examined the students’ abilities to select relevant and authoritative sources, summarize the content of those sources, and correctly cite those sources.

Methods: We collected images of 1,253 posters, of which 120 were sampled for analysis, and scored the posters using a 4-point rubric to evaluate students’ information literacy skills.

Results: We found that 52% of students were proficient at selecting relevant sources that directly contributed to the theme, topic, or debate presented in their final poster projects, and 64% of students did well with selecting authoritative peer-reviewed scholarly sources related to their topic. However, 45% of students showed difficulty in correctly applying American Psychological Association (APA) citation style.

Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate a need for instructors and librarians to provide strategies for reading and comprehending scholarly articles in addition to properly using APA citation style.

Full Text:



Head AJ. Learning the ropes: how freshmen conduct course research once they enter college [Internet]. Seattle, WA: Information School, University of Washington; 2013 [cited 5 Dec 2013]. .

Ivanitskaya LV, Hanisko KA, Garrison JA, Janson SJ, Vibbert D. Developing health information literacy: a needs analysis from the perspective of preprofessional health students. J Med Libr Assoc. 2012 Oct;100(4):277–83. DOI:

Rangachari PK, Rangachari U. Information literacy in an inquiry course for first-year science undergraduates: a simplified 3C approach. Adv Physiol Educ. 2007 Jun 1;31(2):176–9. DOI:

Benedict J. Using popular-press nutrition books to develop critical reading skills of first-year college students. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Mar;45(2):188–90.

Salisbury F, Karasmanis S. Are they ready? exploring student information literacy skills in the transition from secondary to tertiary education. Aust Acad Res Libr. 2011;42(1):43–58. DOI:

Oakleaf MJ. Using rubrics to collect evidence for decision-making: what do librarians need to learn? Evid Based Libr Inf Pract. 2007;2(3):27–42. DOI:

Mertler CA. Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assess Res Eval. 2001 Dec;7(25). (Available from: . [cited 20 Nov 2017].)

Rinto EE. Developing and applying an information literacy rubric to student annotated bibliographies. Evid Based Libr Inf Pract. 2013;8(3):5–18. DOI:

Krippendorff K. Reliability in content analysis: some common misconceptions and recommendations. Hum Commun Res. 2004 Jul;30(3):411–33.

Stemler SE. A comparison of consensus, consistency, and measurement approaches to estimating interrater reliability. Practical Assess Res Eval. 2004 Mar;9(4). (Available from: . [cited 20 Nov 2017].)

Head AJ. Finding context: what today’s college students say about conducting research in the Digital Age [Internet]. Seattle, WA: Information School, University of Washington; 2009 [cited 4 Feb 2009]. .

Head AJ, Eisenberg MB. Lessons learned: how college students seek information in the Digital Age [Internet]. Seattle, WA: Information School, University of Washington; 2009 [cited 1 Dec 2009]. .

Borelli S, Johnson CM. Information evaluation instruction: a three term project with a first year experience course. Commun Inf Lit. 2012;6(2):173–90.

Mittermeyer D. Incoming first year undergraduate students: how information literate are they? Educ Inf. 2005;23(4):203–32, DOI:

Crawford J, Irving C. Information literacy: the link between secondary and tertiary education project and its wider implications. J Libr Inf Sci. 2007;39(17) 17–26.

Ludovico C, Wittig C. A universe of information, one citation at a time: how students engage with scholarly sources. J Libr Inf Serv Distance Learn. 2015;9(1):30–9. DOI:

Lwong ET. Mapping information literacy outcomes and learning experiences of health sciences undergraduate students. Partnership Can J Libr Inf Pract Res. 2014;9(1):1–17.

Nash S, Wilson MC. Value-added bibliographic instruction: teaching students to find the right citations. Ref Serv Rev. 1991;19(1) 87–92.

Park S, Mardis LA, Ury CJ. I’ve lost my identity – oh, there it is…in a style manual teaching citation styles and academic honesty. Ref Serv Rev. 2011;39(1) 42–57.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Xan Goodman, John Watts, Rogelio Arenas, Rachelle Weigel

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.