Information Literacy: Correlation of Self-Efficacy and Proficiency

Sunday, 29 October 2017: 11:05 AM

Camille M. Wendekier, PhD
Nursing Department, Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA, USA

Information literacy (IL) is a vital component in evidenced-based practice due to its role in research utilization. Few published studies address IL related experiences in college students. Qualitative data indicated undergraduates associate IL with feelings of frustration, doubt, confusion, and anxiety with IL (Duncan & Holtslander, 2012). These negative perceptions can influence students’ IL self-efficacy. Information literacy self-efficacy may directly relate to undergraduate students’ abilities to appreciate and apply IL knowledge to their practice (Geçer, 2012). Poor self-efficacy may contribute to the loss of IL knowledge and skills after graduation (Bandura, 2012; Weiner, 2014). Weiner’s (2014) attribution theory of motivation and emotion suggests IL self-efficacy can motivate people to engage in IL related behavior. The literature review yielded no published study addressing IL self-efficacy and knowledge in nursing students.

This study investigated if a relationship was present between IL self-efficacy and knowledge in pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students. The study also assessed the ability of IL self-efficacy to act as a predictor for IL proficiency. The researcher collected data from traditional, senior, baccalaureate nursing students using the 28-item and 17-item Information Literacy Efficacy Scales (ILSES) and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Information Literacy Test. The methodology included the use of Pearson product-moment correlation to determine if a correlation existed between IL self-efficacy. Two multiple regression models were used to determine if IL self-efficacy could act as a predictor to IL knowledge.

Data analysis found a moderate relationship between self-efficacy and knowledge for both the ILSES 28-item scale (r = .334, p = .003) and the 17-item scale (r = .321, p = .003). The ILSES 28-item scale explained 10.4% of the variance in knowledge (F (3,75) = 3.160, p=0.29) while the ILSES 17-item scale accounted for 8.3% of the variance in knowledge (F (3,77) = 3.553, p=.018). The ability of the ILSES to predict knowledge indicates that nurse educators should include affective domain learning activities to promote positive IL self-efficacy levels. The results also indicated that the ILSES and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Information Literacy Test could serve as valid tools for collecting student data to improve individual and aggregate student outcomes.

Poor response rate and incomplete datasets were the largest study limitations. Program administrators of six traditional baccalaureate programs distributed the surveys to senior nursing students. Although there was no way to calculate the exact response rate, the total of first-time NCLEX test takers for all six programs was 854 in the 11 months succeeding data collection (Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing, 2016). The poor response rate and low completion rate caused the researcher to question the ability to generalize the study results. The data analysis may only reflect students who have high self-efficacy levels that would foster a positive internal locus of causality.

The completion rate of the survey was 64%. Although all 137 participants provided consent to take the survey, the majority of the participants who did not complete it exited the survey after reading the first question. These students may have experienced some of the issues discussed regarding the poor response rate such as lack of perceived benefits and negative perceptions regarding IL. The poor completion rate substantiates the concerns regarding the ability of the study results to reflect baseline IL self-efficacy and knowledge levels of nursing students. These concerns validate the need to conduct more research on knowledge, perceptions, and the use of IL in nursing students and new graduates. Future research on IL can equip faculty with knowledge and tools for improving undergraduate IL capabilities and tailoring this education to conceptions and priorities specific to nursing practice (Bury, 2016; Cowan & Eva, 2016).