260921 Improving information literacy in undergraduate public health coursework

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 2:32 PM - 2:44 PM

Amy Dailey, PhD, MPH , Health Sciences Department, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
Kayla Lenkner , Musselman Library, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
Meggan Smith , Musselman Library, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA
Information literacy has been identified as a necessary proficiency by the national Undergraduate Public Health Learning Outcomes recently published by the American Schools of Public Health (2011). Our objective was to address these information literacy-specific outcomes by developing a unique semester project at Gettysburg College through a partnership with librarians and the instructor of the undergraduate Public Health course. A multiple component semester project was developed to strengthen information literacy skills, using the United States obesity epidemic as the central theme. Part 1 of the project focused on hands-on, interactive navigation of online sources of obesity statistics, facilitated by the librarians and the instructor of the course, culminating in a “statistics scavenger hunt” assignment. Students gained experience distinguishing between reputable and poor sources of public health information. Students then worked with librarians to learn how to systematically identify appropriate peer-reviewed empirical epidemiologic articles for their research question, including a review of the empirical etiologic and experimental intervention literature. The final part of the project entailed each student developing their own intervention study and conducting a mock-NIH review panel with peer evaluation. This component included peer review of the public health information cited in the student proposals. Assessment included evaluation of written assignments by the librarians and instructor and the peer review evaluation. This information literacy-focused project provided each student first-hand experience assessing the quality of health information from various sources and systematically identifying appropriate literature sources, with the ultimate goal of improving their ability to effectively communicate appropriate health information.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss information literacy needs at the undergraduate level for students taking public health coursework. Demonstrate how to engage students in a semester-long project that builds information and scientific literacy skills. Assess the benefits of specifically addressing information literacy in course-based research. Identify aspects of the project that were beneficial to improving information literacy and which components were less successful.

Keywords: Education, Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author because I have doctoral level training in public health and have been teaching graduate and undergraduate students in this field for nearly a decade.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.