An Assessment of women faculty members opinion about information literacy needs, search and evaluation competencies.

Author:Vellaichamy, A.
  1. Introduction

    In the information-rich world, where the scope of available information appears limitless, there is a growing need for researchers, faculty members and students to become critical users of information. It not only includes knowing how to locate Internet resources but focuses upon developing the skills necessary in seeking information from a variety of resources. What information is found is not important, but to use that information to complete the assigned task or research is of great importance. The educational institutions have an opportunity, and a challenge, to prepare faculty to meet the demands of the Information Age. The faculty members need to identify what graduates should know and be able to do. Recipients of a quality education share certain attributes like critical thinking, problem solving, a global vision and a multicultural perspective, preparedness for work, and good citizenship. Information includes any data, evidence, inference, concept, or impression that is conveyable or obtainable by a variety of means or media, such as by print, digital sources, personal experience, experimentation, art, mathematics, history, literature, science, popular culture, and so on. Literacy includes an individual's abilities to actively and ethically access, recall, decipher, understand, synthesize, analyze, apply, critique, create, and communicate with materials and skills which are presented to and learned by that individual within her or his personal, professional, academic, or social contexts.

  2. Review of Literature

    Searching is an art. The information seekers should understand various search strategies and tools that may be employed in the effective retrieval of pertinent information. Lack of search skills will really be a disastrous in information retrieval process. Most of PG students were not skilled in the use of search strategies, search tools and the evaluation of information (Sebuava, 2016). The respondents are less successful in advanced database search strategies, which require a combination of knowledge, comprehension, and logic (Boh Podgornik, Dolnicar, Sorgo & Bartol, 2015). Students were more comfortable in basic computing and internet related activities but less comfortable on specialized information searching tasks (Mahmood, 2013). The lack of search skills has a direct impact on the use of various resources too. Low level of usage of electronic resources, in particular, full texts data bases was linked to lack of search techniques skills by many postgraduate students of the university to access the myriad of e-resources (Adeleke, Samuel & Emeahara, 2016).

    The type of information required by the respondents differ to a greater extent depending on where are they, who are they and what do they do. Job related information, information on health matters and information on financial matters are information needs that are common among the bankers. Current awareness, research and service delivery are major purpose of information use among them (Bello, Amusa, Omotoso and Osunrinade, 2016). Majority of the respondents in academic institutions have information needs on their academic engagements like class assignments and project writing (Issa, Aumsan, Olarongbe, Igwe & Oguntayo, 2015). To satisfy the information needs, the respondents resort to various online and offline resources. Most scholarly resources used were books in print format, while most non-scholarly resources referred to were in electronic format (Ali, Abu- Hassan, Daud & Jusoff, 2010).

    The respondents have fair level of computer literacy skills (Chima, 2015); have average computer skills (Chowdhury, Chowdhury, Rabbi, Tabassum & Ishrat, 2014). The students got 56% of computer literacy score (Ershad Sarabi & Bahaadini, 2005). The highest levels of competence in generic ICT areas were for email, Internet and file management (Samuel et al., 2004). A majority of the students have good skills in using e- mail and word processing (Hollander, 1999) ; (Chima, 2015). Some of the Information Literacy studies are conducted by the researches on the population consisting of mixed bags of respondents. Lata and Sharma (2013) performed an IL study on faculty and students, Moghaddaszadeh and Nikam (2012) on faculty members and research scholars, Somi and De Jager (2005) on undergraduate and postgraduate students, Nyamboga (2004) on the library users of Indian universities and Boh Podgornik, Dolnicar, Sorgo and Bartol (2015) and Mahmood (2013) on students in general. Thomas and Jacobson (2005) opined that information literacy initiatives must be a shared concern of faculty and librarians. Nyamboga (2004) expressed that the inclusion of information literacy programmes in universities is entirely the responsibility of library and information professionals. Information professionals are needed to pass on IL skills to library users (Annet Kinengyere, 2007).

  3. Objectives of the study

    The study has been designed with the following objectives;

  4. To know the institution wise respondents under study;

  5. To know the age and working sector of the respondents;

  6. To know the designation and experience of the respondents;

  7. To assess the information search competency skills of the respondents under study;

  8. To assess the information needs assessment competency skills of the respondents under study; and

  9. To assess the competency of information literacy evaluation skills of the respondents under study.

  10. Methodology

    For the present study simple random sampling method has been adopted by the investigator which comprises of administration of questionnaire in order to assess the women faculty members' opinion about the information literacy needs, search and evaluation competencies. The researcher visited the MTWU and 11 of its affiliated colleges and distributed the questionnaire. A structured questionnaire was designed in order to collect the data, after collection of filled up questionnaire from the respondents the data has been tabulated using SPSS Software and in the present report only results has been shown in percentage (%). All these results have been shown in the graphical format using MS-Excel using the tables and figures, and it was analyzed and tabulated through the statistical tools, such as average and simple percentages. 5. Analysis and Discussion

    Size of the sample

    Table 5.1 reveals the distribution of questionnaires in Mother Teresa Women's University and its affiliated colleges. The highest, response rate comes from the MTWU with 95.00 per cent, followed by Autonomous colleges affiliated to MTWU with 92.50 per cent, Self Financing Colleges with 83.64 per cent and constituent Colleges of MTWU with 83.33 per cent.

    Designation, Working Sector and Age-wise Respondents

    Table 5.2 discloses the designation and working sector-wise distribution of the respondents. Out of 12 institutions, 5 are government, 5 are self-financing and 2 are aided educational institutions. While there are 92 (36.2%) respondents from self- financing colleges, 88 (34.6%) respondents are from Government University and government colleges. 74 (29.1%) respondents are hailed from just two self-financing colleges. 163 (64.2%) respondents are assistant professors and 81 (31.9%) respondents are associate professors while just 10 (3.9%) respondents are professors. Thus, majority of the respondents of this study are Assistant Professors. Majority of the respondents belong to more than 45 years (33.1%) age group followed by 41-45 years age group constituting 19.3% (49) of the respondents and 36-40 years age group constituting 16.9% (43) of the respondents. 30.8% (78) of the sample are young belonging to either 25-30 or 31-35 years age group. It is also understood that the sample comprises of only female respondents as the sample is taken from women's university and its constituent and affiliated colleges.

    Information Search Competency

    Table 5.3 discloses the information search competencies of the respondents.

    157 (61.8%) respondents agree and 64 (25.2%) respondents strongly agree that they can communicate the collected information in appropriate medium/format. 26 respondents are neutrally skilled. While 164 (64.6%) respondents agree, 59 (23.2%) respondents strongly agree that they can communicate clearly with a style to support the purposes depending upon the audience.24 (9.4%) respondents are neutrally skilled. 153 (60.2%) respondents agree and 70 (27.6%) respondents strongly agree that they can use the keywords, alternate keywords and related keywords to search for the electronic information while 22 (8.7%) respondents are neutrally skilled. While 134 (52.8%) respondents agree, 73 (28.75%) respondents strongly agree that they can repeat the revised searching, if necessary, 30 (11.8%) respondents are neutrally skilled.

    161 (63.4%) respondents agree and 30 (31.5%) respondents strongly agree that they can analyse the logic and structure of information collected. While 156 (61.4%) respondents agree, 72 (28.3%) respondents strongly agree that they can make suitable search by using various techniques like Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) using symbols Like *, ?, etc. 52% (132) of the respondents disagree and 17.7% (45) of the respondents strongly disagree that they know how to use various classification schemes and catalogues to locate books and other materials in a library. Only 14.2% (36) of the respondents agree and are neutral with this skill. While 86 (33.9%) respondents agree and 40 (15.7%) respondents strongly agree, 61 (24%) are neutral and 66 (26%) respondents disagree that they can identify the gaps in the collected information and determine whether the searching method should be revised.

    To test the normality of data, one sample K-S (Kolmogorov-Smirnov) test and Shapiro-Wilk test were conducted for all the 8 variables placed under the factor 'Information Search Competency'. Table 5.3.1 reveals that the p-values for all the 8 variables are less than the 0.05...

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