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Developing information literacy programmes fo public university libraries in Tanzania : a case study of the University of Dar es Salaam

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posted on 14.11.2012, 13:40 authored by Evans F. Wema
The aim of the research was to develop a training course that inculcated infonnation literacy that could be implemented by staff at the University of Dar es Salaam library (Tanzania), in order to provide students with appropriate infonnation literacy skills to meet their educational goals. The course was developed from an integration of knowledge from infonnation behaviour research and educational theory with current perspectives of infonnation literacy from Infonnation and Library Science (ILS). The ultimate goal of the research was to create a framework that would be used by public university libraries in Tanzania to teach infonnation literacy courses. The study was carried out in two parts. In the first implementation "pilot" programme, the course was tested by involving librarians who took the entire course, in order to see whether the same course structure could be used to implement to the Masters of Education students. Following adaptations made on the first course, a second course programme was implemented to Masters of Education students by two librarians who attended the first implementation "pilot" programme. Therefore, the success of the course was partly judged on whether it effectively enabled knowledge transfer from the librarians to students. Data collection methods were predominantly qualitative, although quantitative methods in tenns of diagnostic tests were also used. The tests were used to evaluate trainees' knowledge ofinfonnation literacy before and after the course to provide an indication of changes in knowledge. Qualitative methods used included semistructured interviews with librarians and academic staff at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in order to make sure that assumptions made about students' knowledge of infonnation literacy and the kind of problems experienced by students were correct. Other methods included quizzes, exercises, group reflection and presentations that related to each stage in the course. These methods served to indicate trainees' understanding of what was taught, reflections on the leaming process and provided feedback for improvements on the course. The major findings showed that there was a recognized need for infonnation literacy and that problems such as unfamiliarity with categories of infonnation sources, analysis, synthesis, evaluation and use, were experienced in Tanzania as was the case in other "Western" countries. In addition, librarians were able to transfer skills learned to students, who in turn used the same course materials to teach fellow students who did not participate in the course. Furthermore, the design of the course was facilitated by the integration of Information and library science (ILS) approaches to information literacy with the knowledge of information behaviour and pedagogic theory. The thesis provides recommendations for the library and information curricula to introduce information literacy, teaching information literacy in a holistic way and with librarians participating in teaching and research. In addition, the study recommended that librarians should facilitate the development of information literacy in primary and secondary schools.



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© Evans F. Wema

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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