Information Literacy among Four Departments of Social Science: A Survey of Kurukshetra University, KurukshetraAnil*
Information plays a vital role in all spheres of life in this technological era. Information is available in different formats and from various sources. To get the right information at the right time from the abundance of unclassified data/information, the users of the libraries must be information literates. The paper discusses the information literacy concept, meaning, aims, need, purpose, skills, awareness, satisfaction etc. The present study is delimited on four departments of social science faculty of Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra situated in Haryana State. The questionnaire method was adopted as a tool for data collection. All the regular students who belonged to the selected departments were contacted for the study. Total fifty questionnaires were distributed among each department, out of which 161 duly filled in questionnaires were received back with a response rate of 80.5%. The results revealed that most of the students are aware on information sources. Most of respondents i.e. 95.03% need information for examination purpose. More than three fourth i.e. 79.50% respondents use both type of sources viz. print and electronic format of information.
Information Literacy, Computer Literacy, Digital Literacy, Skills
We are living in the highly competitive age of science and technology. In this age information is increasing in abundance day by day with leaps and bound in every field of human working. The increasing information is also changing in terms of its volume, technical aspects of its storage and retrieval and in the way it is communicated. Due to the increasing information and the increasing complexity of this environment, individuals get the information through different ways and formats as academic studies, workplaces, and their personal lives. Information is available through libraries, community sources, special interest organizations, media and the internet (ACRL 2000). In the past time, information sources were limited and confined to library and were reachable to some particular persons. These sources were kept under surveillance. Common people were deprived to use these sources. The sources were limited to written books. The books were written by hand and to increase the durability these were kept under surveillance. But as the time passed, after invention of printing machine by Gutenberg, this problem was overcome to some extent. Gradually, information sources started to increase and in the present time information sources have increased to their maximum volume. The present world is the world of information, everything is based on knowledge and technology, there is no doubt that the internet and other web technology has improved access to information. Access and use it an effective manner. As a result, information literature is becoming a necessary skill to survive in the technology based information world. Information literacy is recognized as lifelong learning and has its roots in educational system.
“The evolution of the concept of information literacy, since Zurkowski first used the term in 1974, has taken place both within and outside of the field of library science, not only in the United States but also throughout the world. Librarians have been especially sensitive to the so- called information explosion and its resultant repercussions. The concept of information literacy, which advocates the preparation of people to be successful users of information, addresses the concerns librarians have with the evolving nature of information sources and the overwhelming amount of information available. Those outside of the field of library science have also acknowledged the effects of the exponential growth of information” (Eisenberg, Lowe and Spitzer, 2004).
According to American Library Association presidential committee on information literacy “to be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information” (ALA 1989).
According to Paul Zurkowski, “People trained in the application of information resources to their work can be called information literates. They have learned techniques and skills for utilizing the wild rage of information tools as well as primary sources in molding information solutions to their problems.”
Types of information literacy
The concept of information literacy has been further developed and extended into the areas of “critical thinking and ethical usage of information”. Information has been presented in a number of formats, from simple to complex as illustrations, photographs charts, graphs, tables, multimedia, sound, recordings, and computer graphics. Consequently, use of this information requires literacy apart from the basic ones of reading and writing. So in order to understand complex format we must also be skilled in other literacy’s as visual literacy, media literacy, computer literacy, network literacy, web literacy etc.
1. Visual Literacy
2. Media Literacy
3. Computer Literacy
4. Network Literacy
5. Digital Literacy
Objectives of the study
The main purpose of the study was to check how much the information literate are four social science departments, and also examine the information literacy needs, and awareness among them. The specific objectives of the present study are:
1. To check the ability of respondents to identify and specify their information needs.
2. To determine the awareness of using information resources and awareness ofinternet related resources.
3. To know how much, they are aware about search strategies.
4. To determine the respondents ability to access and evaluate the printed and electronic resources.
5. To know how effectively the respondent are able to retrieve information from the sources.
6. To evaluate how the users utilize the information retrieved for academic purposes.
7. To identify different information search techniques used by students for accessing information sources.
Review of Related Literature
Anandhalli and Gavsiddappa (2018) conducted a study on “Impact of Information Literacy Skills on the Academic Achievement of the Students”. Anjuman Degree College, Vijaypura’. It was observed that 64 (61%) respondents are male and 39% respondents are female. It is observed that considerable numbers of students belongs to commerce while 46.7% of the students belong to science background. The study revealed that 65.0% visited library almost day, 20% of the user visited once in a week or twice in a week out of 105, 100% students are in need of information. The study indicate they will find needed information in internet representing 76.19% of the table sample followed by 59.04% respondents opined that they will find the needed information in library. Majority of 59% respondents required academic information followed by health information. On an average or more the 60% of the degree students have more than 50% of awareness about the information literacy skills. Ajiboye and Tiamiyu (2018) who conducted a study on effective assessment of IL course (ICS 102) of first year undergraduate students of Faculty of Communication and Information Science, University of Ilorin, Nigeria, adopting questionnaire for pre and post-test intervention, the study found that comparing post-test scores with the pre-test scores, there is not much evidence of the substantial increases in learning that can be attributed to the ICS 102 intervention, as measured by the items in the questionnaire. The implication is that students who had taken ICS 102 course had not acquired more information literacy knowledge over the semester. Swapna and Biradav (2017) conducted a study on Assessment of Information Literacy Skills among Science Postgraduate Students in University of Karnataka State. The survey method was used to conduct the study. The study revealed that 92.5% of the students were skilled to define, develop and revise the information need on a topic, 83.6% of the students were identify the different types, and 80.2% identify purpose and target audience of information sources and 97.4% understand the organization and production of universe of knowledge. Batabyal and Rath (2017) conducted a study on “Information Literacy Competency with a Particular Reference to Information search skills among the Research Scholars and faculty members of the University of Burdwan” found that the ability of the respondents to search information in print and online environment is not in balanced way. To increase such ability among the respondent’s university library should take the responsibility. The university libraries should conduct seminar, workshop, and training programmer in the library training room or department wise through department/seminar/reference library by constituting the team of experts for delivering information literacy related activities. Cohen, ET. Al (2016) conducted a survey of information literacy credit courses in US academic libraries. It was found that 19% of the institutions had IL credit courses taught by librarians. Largest institutions and those granting doctoral degrees are the most likely to offer IL credit courses. Public institutions are more likely to offer such courses than private non-profit institutions to offer IL credit courses. Verma, Sudhir Kumar and Boriwal (2016) conducted a study “Information Literacy Competencies among faculty of medical Colleges in Madhya Pradesh (India): A Case Study”. The study revealed that 85% faculty members consider information literacy will be very important to achieve the aims of digital India whereas 20% respondents rarely or never use information for any purpose. Yearwood, Foasberg and Rosenberg (2015) conducted a survey of librarians’ perceptions of information literacy technique in New York. The study was conducted to evaluate librarians’ perceptions of the effectiveness of different teaching models. It was found that librarians surveyed believed that one-on-one research consultation was the most effective teaching method and that online guides were the least effective. Although not considered the most effective, one-shot classroom instruction was the most prevalent model.
The present study has been conducted through the survey method of research. A structured questionnaire was designed and used for collecting the data from the four social science department of Kurukshetra University Kurukshetra. For the present investigation 200 questionnaires were distributed among students, out of which 161 (80.5%) duly filled in questionnaires were received back for further study (Table 1).
Table 1: Department wise Distribution of Respondents
The department wise distribution of respondents is presented in Table 1. Out of 161 respondents, majority of the respondents i.e., 29 (63.04%) female are from English department, followed by, 22 (61.11%) respondents are from Law, 19 (44.18%) respondents are male from Psychology and 14 (38.88%) respondents answered are male from Law department. Out of 161 respondents, Majority of the respondents 102 (63.35%) female are from all departments followed by 59 (36.64%) respondents are male (Table 2).
|Departments||Research||Assignment||Project work||Update knowledge||Examination||Others||Total|
Table 2: Purpose of Information Need
Table shows the purpose for which respondents need information. The response shows that majority of respondents in Mathematics 39 (97.5%) needed information for examination purpose. 97% of respondents in Law and 73.80% respondents in English needed information for updating themselves. Among four department maximum 97.5% respondents of Mathematics and 30.33% respondents of Law needed information for assignment and research purpose respectively. However, 12.42% respondent in of all departments also ticked others option and mentioned to increase thinking ability (Table 3).
|Departments||Books||Print journal||Electronic journal||Reference books||Conference/
Table 3: Awareness of Information Sources
Table-3 shows awareness of the respondents of information sources. Almost all the respondents were aware of books (97.5%) followed by newspaper (88.8%), search engine (77.01%), print journals (61.49%), e-resources (42.85%), and reference books (47.82%). The table shows that the students of Mathematics department were more aware about various information sources than other social science departments (Table 4).
|Departments||Print format||Electronic format||Both||Total|
Table 4: Mostly Used Format of Information
Table 4 shows that majority of respondents in English 35(97.22%) and Law 31(86.11%) used both the format of information. 85% respondents in Mathematics preferred and 65.11% in Psychology also preferred both formats. Among social science departments maximum 87.5% respondents of Mathematics preferred information in print format, whereas 63.88% of Law departments preferred electronic format. Thus, majority of respondents (79.50%) preferred information in both the formats (Table 5).
|Departments||Boolean operator||multiple search terms||Search by keywords||multiple terms by field||Total|
Table 5: Features of Advanced Search Facility of Databases
Table 5 shows that majority of respondents in English (52.38%) and Psychology (51.16%) stated keywords search. 58.33% of respondents in Law and 51.16% respondents of Psychology stated multiple search terms could be entered in advanced search facility. Among four social science departments, 47.22% respondents of Law stated opted for the option multiple terms by field (Table 6).
|Departments||Search a general academic database for journal article||Search economics database for journal article||Search the library catalogue for books||Search the library catalogue for encyclopaedia||Total|
Table 6: Best Strategy to Locate the Required Items
Table-6 shows that the majority of respondents in English (59.52%) would prefer to search a general academic database for journal articles. 52.38% respondents in English and 41.66% respondents in Law would prefer to consult economics database for journal articles, whereas maximum 44.18% respondents of Psychology would search the library catalogue for books and those respondents who would search library catalogue for encyclopedia were less than 9.30% in three departments (Table 7).
|Departments||Accession number||Call number||Title||Author||Total|
Table 7: Access Tool of Searching a Book in the library
The respondents were asked how they search book on the shelf in library. Table-8 shows that majority of respondents in English (76.19%) searched book by title. 80.55% respondents in Law searched book by author. Among four social science departments largest number of respondents in Psychology (25.58%) searched book by accession number and title. Thus, the largest number of respondents (44.72%) search book by call number (Table 8).
Table 8: Preferred Search Engine
Table-9 shows that all of respondents in English (100%) and Mathematics (100%) used the Google search engine. 100% of respondents in Psychology and 94.44% in Law also preferred Google search engine.
|Departments||Use of printed resources||Use of e-resources||Use of computer||Use of online public access catalogue||Use of internet||Total|
Table 9: Areas of Instruction Needed
Among four social science departments Yahoo was preferred by 25% respondents of Law. Alta Vista was used by only one respondent each in Law, English, Psychology and Mathematics. 8.69% respondents also ticked others, but they mentioned chrome and UC browser (Table 9).
The respondents were asked about the different areas in which they need instruction or training. Table 10 shows that majority of respondents in English (95.23%) need instruction in use of internet and 83.33% respondents’ needs in use of e-resources. However, 72.22% respondents in Law and 65.11% respondents in Psychology also needed instruction in use of e-resources. Among four departments’ maximum 80.55% respondents in Law and 73.80% respondents in English needed instructions in use of OPAC (Table 10).
Table 10: Satisfactions with Information Literacy
11 shows the satisfaction level of the students with the present information literacy programmer of the library. 75.77% respondents were satisfied with information literacy programmer and 24.22 respondents were not satisfied with information literacy.
Results and Discussion
The Present Study to assess the Information Literacy among the Students of four social science departments Law, English, Psychology and Mathematics in Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. The main intension of this study is to assess the level of information searching ability in print and electronic environment which is the need of the hour in the present context of critical information environment. The Major Finding shows that Information Literacy in an Important Component in any Post-graduate Students it’s very helpful for their Study. Because Information Literacy Students are more critical when they make decisions about the resources they use. In this Study finding revealed that Majority of Mathematics, English, and Psychology Students have used the information need for examination followed by 86.04% respondents used the information need for assignment. Most of the respondents are familiar as with information literacy programmer. Most of the respondents used the both print and electronic information sources. Majority of the respondents are aware of information literacy programmer. 100% respondents of three departments used the Google search engine followed by 94.44% respondents of Law used the Google search engine. 75.77% of respondents are satisfied with information literacy. The study indicate that majority of the respondents were not having the knowledge of using Boolean operator in searching information and needs training for searching through the Boolean operators.
There is lack of awareness among the respondents regarding information retrieval Tools like Call Number, Vocabulary Controlled Tool, use of Keyword and Boolean Operator. Library Professional Should does efforts to develop comprehensive training programmer or Information Literacy Course for Post graduate Students, Can be improved. However, this Instruction and training Programmed now need more refinement due to the growth of electronic and Web-based information resources. It can be inferred from the above discussion that the ability of the respondents to search information in print and online environment is not in balanced way. To increase such ability among the respondents university library should take the responsibility. It should conduct seminar, workshop, and training programmer in the library training room or department wise through departmental/seminar/reference library by constituting the team of experts for delivering information literacy related activities.
1. It is recommended that user’s need Oriented Information Literacy Programs Should be Organized.
2. On the basis of Information requirement Information Literacy Programs Should be Organized Time to time by department to increase Students Information Literacy Standards.
3. Information is growing by leaps and bound, so it may be difficult to find or search exact Information Which the Students need, for this purpose guideline should be provided by the department teachers.
4. Libraries should have online tutorials on Information Literacy.
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Received: 08-Sep-2021 Published: 29-Sep-2021
Copyright: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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