Critchfield Information Literacy Indicator

An information literacy instrument based on ACRL standards--THAT WORKS!

The Development of an Information Literacy Indicator for Incoming College Freshmen

This study developed a comprehensive information literacy instrument based on the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000) Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Instrument items were composed for the initial instrument (version 1). Instrument version 1 items were examined by three experts in the field of information literacy to determine content validity. The instrument was then administered to 78 college freshmen at Warner Southern College. Scale reliability was determined for the items of instrument version 1 by calculating Cronbach alpha values for each construct. The results were positive and described the study instrument as a reliable indicator of information literacy skills. The major scales for ACRL standards two, three, and five all achieved an alpha value above .90. The reliability of the major scale for ACRL standard one was near the upper end of the moderate-to-high range with an alpha value of .89. The major scale for ACRL standard four achieved an alpha value of .75. This value was within the statistical range of a reliable scale. To triangulate the data, interviews were conducted with 14 randomly selected freshmen volunteers. The interviews also confirmed the reliability of the instrument.

Instrument version 1 items not as consistent as others in the scale were eliminated to produce the final instrument (version 2). As a confirmatory test, instrument version 2 was administered to a second group of 81 college students from Warner Southern College. The instrument analysis again resulted in Cronbach alpha values indicating a reliable instrument. All major scales were comparable between the two trials except for major scale 5; yet the result for major scale 5 was within the statistical range of reliability. The conclusion of the study was that the development and testing of the information literacy indicator proved to be valid and reliable for indicating information literacy skills across all five ACRL information literacy standards.

Download the Dissertation: Critchfield Information Literacy Indicator (PDF - 1.3MB)

The story is simple: I did not submit the dissertation findings for publication, nor continue this research, due to time constraints of work, family, life, etc. Once I earned my Ph.D. I went into Public Librarianship and my findings lay on my bookshelf gathering dust. While I am aware that some of the instrument questions will need to be reworded for the purposes of future study (given changes in technology), I offer my work to scholars and information professionals with the hope that some good can come of it. If the Indicator is used in any form (modified or otherwise) I ask only for proper reference and for my name, Critchfield, to remain in the title of the instrument insofar as it is used for non-profit purposes. If the Indicator is used in any way for profit, I also ask that my name be included in the instrument title and that a fair portion of resulting revenue be donated to the Jessamine County Public Library, Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Posted by Dr. Ron Critchfield (Ph.D., Nova Southeastern University; M.S.L.S., University of Kentucky; M.T.S., Duke University; B.A., Centre College)