CrynodebThis case study aimed to explore the information needs of Masters level Occupational Therapy (OT) students at one English university and to identify the associated factors contributing to library use and non-use. Few studies discuss the information needs of OT students, even though 31 British universities offer Occupational Therapy programmes.
One case was selected through non-probability sampling. An interpretivist, constructionist, inductive approach was employed to explore the students’ perceptions of information needs within their occupational environment. A mixed methods self-completion questionnaire was administered to 27 students. The response rate was 23%. Patterns within the total data set were identified through thematic analysis and non-parametric descriptive analysis. The
results were indicative and not statistically significant or generalisable.
The findings are summarised in relation to the study’s three objectives:
1. To ascertain OT students’ motivators for information-seeking - completing academic assignments, engaging in evidence-based practice on clinical placements and developing workplace skills
2. To determine which information sources are used and why - clinical colleagues, textbooks, internet search engines, e-journals and bibliographic databases
3. To establish the barriers inhibiting the satisfaction of information needs - information literacy training gaps, students’ lack of awareness of subscription resources, librarians’ limited knowledge of OT students’ role requirements and the associated differences between their information needs and those of other healthcare students, and the perceived inaccessibility and unavailability of library resources and services.
Recommendations for practice included; ensuring librarians are aware of Occupational Therapy as a distinct profession, providing signage for Occupational Therapy print collections, extending library opening hours, offering regular user training (information literacy, academic writing, presentation skills), improving the availability and accessibility of
Occupational Therapy-related electronic and printed resources, and targeted publicity of relevant library services and resources.
Future research should involve a collective case study to establish whether these findings are generalisable.
|Goruchwyliwr||Hugh Preston (Goruchwylydd)|