Teaching literacy: Methods for studying and improving library instruction

Meggan Houlihan, Amanda Click

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective - The aim of this paper is to evaluate teaching effectiveness in one-shot information literacy (IL) instruction sessions. The authors used multiple methods, including plus/delta forms, peer evaluations, and instructor feedback surveys, in an effort to improve student learning, individual teaching skill, and the overall IL program at the American University in Cairo. Methods - Researchers implemented three main evaluation tools to gather data in this study. Librarians collected both quantitative and qualitative data using student plus/delta surveys, peer evaluation, and faculty feedback in order to draw overall conclusions about the effectiveness of one-shot IL sessions. By designing a multi-method study, and gathering information from students, faculty, and instruction librarians, results represented the perspectives of multiple stakeholders. Results - The data collected using the three evaluation tools provided insight into the needs and perspectives of three stakeholder groups. Individual instructors benefit from the opportunity to improve teaching through informed reflection, and are eager for feedback. Faculty members want their students to have more hands-on experience, but are pleased overall with instruction. Students need less lecturing and more authentic learning opportunities to engage with new knowledge. Conclusion - Including evaluation techniques in overall information literacy assessment plans is valuable, as instruction librarians gain opportunities for self-reflection and improvement, and administrators gather information about teaching skill levels. The authors gathered useful data that informed administrative decision making related to the IL program at the American University in Cairo. The findings discussed in this paper, both practical and theoretical, can help other college and university librarians think critically about their own IL programs, and influence how library instruction sessions might be evaluated and improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalEvidence Based Library and Information Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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