May 28, 2022

New Article: “Rethinking Library Instruction: Using Learning-Outcome Based Design to Teach Online Search Strategies”

The following article is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Information Literacy (Vol 7, No 2; 2013).


Rethinking Library Instruction: Using Learning-Outcome Based Design to Teach Online Search Strategies


Meagan Lacy
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis 

Hsin-liang Chen
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis 


Journal of Information Literacy (Vol 7, No 2; 2013).


Given the growing pressure on academic institutions and, by extension, academic libraries to establish student learning outcomes and demonstrate their impact on student learning, researchers at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) explored how outcome-based instructional design can be used to 1) collect student data, 2) assess student learning, and 3) improve instruction.

Two surveys were distributed to 59 undergraduate students who were enrolled in an introductory composition course at IUPUI. Because previous studies (e.g. Ford, Miller and Moss 2005) have linked human individual differences with web search strategy, the first survey collected information about the students’ demographic features.

The second survey, a search log, collected information about the sources that students chose, the search terms they used and the strategies they employed in order to complete their research. The students submitted their first survey after the instructional session and the second survey after they completed their research project. Using this data, the researchers examined whether students’ achievement could be associated with their personal characteristics and/or the librarian’s instruction. In contrast to Ford, Miller and Moss’s study (2005), no significant relationships were found between students’ personal characteristics and their search behaviour.

However, after receiving instruction, all students were able to create keywords and structure them into search queries using Boolean operators. These results suggest that outcome-based instructional design is an effective pedagogical method for gathering assessment data and that the survey instrument was a useful tool for assessing this outcome – by providing both a measurement of student learning and a means of evaluating the librarian’s instruction.

Direct to Full Text Article (24 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.