Perspectives of first-year Business Studies students on the Certificate of Information Literacy: a case study of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Yunus Omar, Zulaiga Davids


This paper presents the results of a survey on the perspectives of students and lecturers after students had attended a course on information literacy (IL) training. A student self-assessment survey aimed to explore what IL skills students are applying and how they feel about completing the IL course. A second survey gained feedback from lecturers to verify whether students had applied IL skills within their subjects after taking the IL course. The population studied was Business Studies students at first year and foundation level, drawing a sample from Communication and English courses. Findings indicate that lecturers have seen an improvement in the academic work of students after their IL training. Students perceived an improvement in their skills to evaluate sources – a skill most applied in their academic work. The value of the study lies in its focus on how students view their IL skills. The study finds that students see IL training as beneficial, not only in Communication and English, but in their other subjects as well. They also see the benefit it will have for all students at a university. Literature suggests that soliciting students’ perspectives on IL is under-researched. This case study adds to research in that area.


Information literacy certificate; students’ perspective; Kirkpatrick Four Level of Learning Evaluation Model; self-assessment; academics’ perspective

Full Text:



American Library Association, 2000. Information literacy competency standards for higher education. [Online]. (6 December 2018).

Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). 2015. Academic library contributions to student success: documented practices from the field. Prepared by Karen Brown. Contributions by Kara J. Malenfant. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. [Online]. (21 January 2019).

Babbie, E. 2007. The practice of social research. 11th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Bates, R. 2005. Kirkpatrick four-level evaluation model. In: Encyclopedia of evaluation, S. Mathison, Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 221-222.

Butler, Y.G. 2018. Student self-assessment. In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation, B. Frey, Ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publishing. DOI:

Chan, C. P. 2016. Institutional assessment of student information literacy ability: a case study. Communications in Information Literacy, 10(1), 50-61. DOI:

Cook, D. B. and Klipfel, K. M. 2015. How do our students learn? an outline of a cognitive psychological model for information literacy instructions. Reference & User Service Quarterly, 55(1). [Online]. (12 November 2018).

DaCosta, J. W. 2016. Information literacy in the digital environment. In: University libraries and digital learning environments, 59-74. UK: Routledge. [Online]. (14 February 2019).

Daniel, J. 2012. Choosing the type of nonprobability sampling. In: Sampling essentials: practical guidelines for making sampling choices. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. DOI: 10.4135/9781452272047. 81-124.

Davids, Z. and Omar, Y. 2018. Implementing a certificate of information literacy programme and engaging with faculty: a case study of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 84(1): 1-10. [Online]. (2 June 2019).

De Saulles, M. 2015. Information 2.0: new models of information production, distributions and consumption. 2nd ed. London: Facet.

Detlor, B., Booker, L., Serenko, A. and Julien, H. 2012. Student perceptions of information literacy instruction: the importance of active learning. Education for Information, 29: 147-161. [Online]. (5 April 2019).

Detmering, R., Johnson, A., Sproles, C., McClellan, S. and Linares, R. 2015. Library instruction and information literacy 2014. Reference Services Review, 43(4): 533-642. DOI:

Erlinger, A. 2018. Outcomes assessment in undergraduate information literacy instruction: a systematic review. College & Research Libraries, 79(4): 442-479. DOI:

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A. and Alkassim, R. S. 2016. Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics. 5(1): 1-4. DOI: 10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.11

Falchikov, N and Boud, D. 1989. Student self-assessment in higher education: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, Winter, 59(4): 395-430.

Fielding, J., Hans, J., Mabee, F., Tracy, K., Consalvo, A. and Craig, L. 2013. Integrated information literacy and student outcomes in foundational first-year writing, Journal of Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, 3(2): 106-139. USA: Penn State. [Online]. (11 November 2018).

Hartman, E. 2001. Understandings of information literacy: the perceptions of first year undergraduate students at the University of Ballarat. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 32(2): 110-122.

Johnson, A., Willenborg, A., Heckman, C., Whitacre, J., Reynolds, L., Sterner, E., Harmon, L., Lunsford, S. and Drerup, S. 2018. Library instruction and information literacy 2017. Reference Services Review, 46(4): 628-734. DOI:

Kim, S.U. and Shumaker, D. 2015. Student, librarian, and instructor perceptions of information literacy instruction and skills in a first year experience program: a case study. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(4): 449-456. DOI:

Kirkpatrick, D. L. 1998. Evaluating training programs: the four levels. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Lanning, S and Mallek, J. 2017. Factors influencing information literacy competency of college students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(5): 443–450. DOI:

Mahmood, K. 2016. Do people overestimate their information literacy skills? A systematic review of empirical evidence on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Communications in Information Literacy, 10(2): 199-213. DOI:

Maree, K. 2016. First steps in research. 2nd ed. Van Schaik: Pretoria.

Maurer, A., Schloegl, C., & Dreisiebner, S. 2017. Comparing information literacy of student beginners among different branches of study. Libellarium: Journal for the research of writing, books, and cultural heritage institutions, 9(2): 309-319. DOI:

Oakleaf, M., 2008. Dangers and opportunities: a conceptual map of information literacy assessment approaches. Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 8(3): 233-253. [Online]. (21 July 2018).

Oakleaf, M. and Kaske, N. 2009. Guiding questions for assessing information literacy in higher education, Portal: Libraries and the Academy, 9(2): 273-286. [Online]. (21 July 2018).

Oakleaf, M., Millet, M. S. and Kraus, L. 2011. All together now: getting faculty, administrators, and staff engaged in information literacy assessment. Portal: Libraries & the Academy, 11(3): 832 -851. DOI: doi:10.1353/pla.2011.0035.

Reynolds, L., McClellan, S., Finley, S., Martinez, G. and Linares, R. 2016. Library instruction and information literacy 2015. Reference Services Review, 44(4): 436-543. DOI:

Rosman, T, Mayer, A-K. and Krampen, G. 2015. Combining self-assessments and achievement tests in information literacy assessment: empirical results and recommendations for practice. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(5): 740–754. DOI:

Saunders, L. 2012. Faculty perspectives on information literacy as a student learning outcome. The Journal of Academic Librarianship. 38(4): 226–236. DOI:

Seamans, N. 2002. Student perceptions of information literacy: insights for librarians. Reference Services Review, 30(2): 112-123. DOI:

Shao, X. and Purpur, G. 2016. Effects of information literacy skills on student writing and course performance. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6): 670–678. DOI:

Stevenson, P. 2012. Evaluating educational interventions for information literacy. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 29(1): 81-86. DOI:

Taylor, A. and Dalal, H. 2017. Gender and information literacy: evaluation of gender differences in a student survey of information sources. College & Research Libraries, 78(1): 90. DOI:

Wakimoto, D. K., Alexander, S., Bussman, J. D., Winkelman, P. and Guo, J. 2016. Campus-wide information literacy assessment: an opportunity for library leadership.

(1): 1-19. DOI:

Yevelson-Shorsher, A. and Bronstein, J. 2018. Three perspectives on information literacy in academia: talking to librarians, faculty, and students. College and Research Libraries, 79(4): 535-553. [Online]. (29 November 2018).



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2304-8263 (online); ISSN 0256-8861 (print)
Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2012.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.