Evaluating information skills training in health libraries: a systematic review


Alison Brettle, Research Fellow (Information), Salford Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Collaborative Research, Institute of Health and Social Care, University of Salford, Allerton Building, Frederick Road, Salford, M6 6PU, UK. E-mail: a.brettle@salford.ac.uk


Introduction:  Systematic reviews have shown that there is limited evidence to demonstrate that the information literacy training health librarians provide is effective in improving clinicians’ information skills or has an impact on patient care. Studies lack measures which demonstrate validity and reliability in evaluating the impact of training.

Aim:  To determine what measures have been used; the extent to which they are valid and reliable; to provide guidance for health librarians who wish to evaluate the impact of their information skills training.

Methods:  Data sources: Systematic review methodology involved searching seven databases, and personal files. Study selection: Studies were included if they were about information skills training, used an objective measure to assess outcomes, and occurred in a health setting.

Results:  Fifty-four studies were included in the review. Most outcome measures used in the studies were not tested for the key criteria of validity and reliability. Three tested for validity and reliability are described in more detail.

Conclusions:  Selecting an appropriate measure to evaluate the impact of training is a key factor in carrying out any evaluation. This systematic review provides guidance to health librarians by highlighting measures used in various circumstances, and those that demonstrate validity and reliability.