Information literacy skills and competencies of nursing students at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Malawi

  • Patrick Mapulanga Librarian University of Malawi Malawi
  • Felix Chisoni Librarian, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences
  • Aubrey Harvey Chaputula Mzuzu University
Keywords: Information literacy, information literacy skills, information literacy competencies, training, nursing students, faculty members, Malawi


This paper reports the findings of a study on information literacy (IL) skills and competencies of nursing students at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Malawi. The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive design. The population for this study were nursing students and faculty of the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through an online questionnaire that contained open-ended questions. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics in the form of charts, graphs, and relative frequencies. Qualitative data, on the other hand, were analysed using thematic analysis. Nursing students received several IL programme offerings that included on-campus IL sessions organised by the library, lecture, or curriculum embedded IL programme, and library instructional sessions. Findings further indicate that majority of the students used Google as their primary source of information whilst library subscription databases were minimally used. Besides wanting to learn citation and referencing styles and how to avoid plagiarism, the students desired to learn how to find and evaluate information. Respondents recommended that IL skills be embedded in the nursing curriculum to make it more effective.  IL should be integrated into courses across many disciplines and spread throughout their academic career. This paper provides lessons to health-related institutions that may be planning on revamping their IL programme offering to make it more relevant to students.  The current study advocates for a more systematic approach in which IL should be part of the curriculum developed and offered by librarians in collaboration with faculty members. 

Author Biographies

Patrick Mapulanga, Librarian University of Malawi Malawi
Patrick Mapulanga has 16 years work experience as a Librarian, holder of  Master in Library and Information Studies from the Universities of Botswana and Cape Town. Patrick has published 15 peer reviewed journal articles.
Felix Chisoni, Librarian, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences
Felix Chisoni is an Assistant Librarian at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Malawi.
Aubrey Harvey Chaputula, Mzuzu University
Aubrey Chaputula (PhD) is an Associate Professor, and Technical Services Librarian at Mzuzu University.


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