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Information literacy competency has become inevitable especially with the rapid growth of information resources and advancement in technology. The need for information literacy competence among medical students is essential for their continuous access, retrieval and effective use of information resources. Literature and discussion with Colleagues indicated that medical students encounter difficulty when using library resources which could be attributed to the lack of search or retrieval competencies for exploiting resources, thus making the level of use of resources low. Hence it becomes necessary to investigate the information literacy competence and use of information resources by medical students in two universities in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Survey research design was used for the study. The population consisted of 387 medical students in the 3rd year of study from the University of Lagos College of Medicine and Lagos State University College of Medicine. Sampling was enumerative as all 387 members of the population were included in the study. A structured questionnaire title “ Information Literacy Competence and Use of Information Resources (ILIRUQ) was used for data collection. The response rate was 90%. The questionnaire was pretested using the Cronbach’s Alpha method. The reliability coefficient for the respective scales that made up the questionnaire were: (0.97) types of information resources available, (0.94) for information resources use, (0.87) for extent of information literacy competency and (0.93) for the challenges faced by students. Data collected was analyzed using frequency distribution, mean, standard deviation; and Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC).
Findings revealed that information literacy competence (r=600, p>.05) had a significant positive relationship on the use of information resources by medical students. Findings also revealed that newspaper/magazine (Mean=3.72) was the highest available resource, followed by maps (mean=3.71), medical records/cases (mean=3.71) and pamphlets (mean= 3.70). Information resources were mostly used for preparing for examination (mean= 3.61), getting information about patient diagnosis/intervention (mean= 3.60) knowing what has been done in the field of research in their subject areas (mean =3.45). In the aspect of information literacy competency, most of the respondents were found to be competent as they could identify search topic (mean=2.92), identify a lack of knowledge in a given subject area (mean=2.91) and identify different formats in which information is provided. The major challenges faced in acquiring information literacy competence is lack of well-equipped library where information literacy could be practiced and inadequate information and communication technologies infrastructure for teaching information literacy were identified.
The study concluded that the importance of information literacy competence to the use of information resources cannot be overemphasized and therefore recommended that medical students, should acquire information literacy competence to effectively use information resources for academic, personal development and for excellence in professional practice activities. However, it is recommended that medical students should continue to improve their information literacy competence by training and retraining. Likewise, institutions should put in place an assessment programme to further strengthen the information literacy competence of students with the view to further improve their use of information resources.
Keywords: Information literacy competence, Information resources, use of information, Library, medical student
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