Developing health information literacy: A needs analysis from the perspective of preprofessional health students

Lana V. Ivanitskaya, Kaitlyn A. Hanisko, Julie A. Garrison, Samantha J. Janson, Danielle Vibbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Objective: The research identified the skills, if any, that health preprofessional students wished to develop after receiving feedback on skill gaps as well as any strategies they intended to use to address these gaps. Methods: A qualitative approach was used to elicit students' reflections on building health information literacy skills. First, the students took the Research Readiness Self-Assessment instrument, which measured their health information literacy, and then they received individually tailored feedback about their scores and skill gaps. Second, students completed a post-assessment survey asking how they intended to close identified gaps in their skills on these. Three trained coders analyzed qualitative comments by 181 students and grouped them into themes relating to "what skills to improve" and "how to improve them". Results: Students intended to develop library skills (64% of respondents), Internet skills (63%), and information evaluation skills (63%). Most students reported that they would use library staff members' assistance (55%), but even more respondents (82%) planned to learn the skills by practicing on their own. Getting help from librarians was a much more popular learning strategy than getting assistance from peers (20%) or professors (17%). Conclusions: The study highlighted the importance of providing health preprofessional students with resources to improve skills on their own, remote access to library staff members, and instruction on the complexity of building health literacy skills, while also building relationships among students, librarians, and faculty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


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