Developing information literacy is very important in higher education. Particularly now, in the age of the Internet, when information is available at every “click”, dental students need to retrieve, process, organize, and evaluate this wealth of information.
However, the online medium offers a huge diversity of information, and whoever needs reliable dental info, must be able to separate the trustworthy from the untrustworthy resources.
This particular study has evaluated the information literacy skills of dental students in their first year of study. There were two groups of students who move through the same educational program together involved in the study (n=160).
Then, there was designed an assignment which had the role to evaluate the information literacy skills of these dental students. Moreover, there has also been a survey designed which was meant to check on their preferences regarding the search engines that they use. The survey’s main purpose was to identify all the possible significant associations.
Based on the results from the assignment and the survey, study conductors were able to present any possible deficiencies in the information literacy of these dental student cohorts.
What did the results show?
- Almost 43% of the students (more precisely, 70 out of the 160) have left out important question components when they needed to find an evidence based citation. 75.7% of these provided incorrect responses (which means 53 out of 70), and they have stated that they have used the Google search engine as their preferred search engine for the task.
- Contrastingly, 86.7% (39 out of 45) have used PubMed as their preferred method, and they could provide the correct responses.
A health service librarian has kept a one hour course to the students, after which it clearly showed that they were able to retrieve the correct information needed for the coursework.
Concluding, it is important to note that information literacy was greatly lacking among these particular students, and that it is very important to integrate modules within the curriculum which will help students retrieve and filter online quality dental information. In order to train good health care professionals, it is important to focus on helping them assess online information correctly.