Information Literacy Skills: Promoting University Access and Success in the United Arab Emirates

Zuhrieh Shana, Fawzi Ishtaiwa


The focus of this research is to assess the level of information literacy (IL) skills required for the
transition-to-university experience across the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This research further seeks to
shed light on the IL levels of incoming first-year university students and describe their perceptions of their
IL skills. The research population consisted of first-year students from three private universities in the UAE:
G1 from Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST), G2 from Al Ain University of Science and
Technology (AAU), and G3 from Al Hosn University (AHU). The three groups were recruited from
students enrolled in first year general education classes. A total of 90 students were asked to take an IL
pre-test to assess the level of IL skills they possessed upon entering university. Because the authors are
currently teaching at AAU, G2 was trained as part of their first-year research skills course at AAU, while
the other two groups G1 and G3 did not receive IL training. At the end of the semester, the authors used
post-testing to determine if IL training helped improve IL skills of the trained participants. The post-test
was given to two groups, including G1, which did not receive any training, and G2, the only trained group.
Pre-test results identified a gap between the expectations and existing skills vital for secondary and
university-level education in all three groups. The post-test evaluation of skills showed statistically
significant increases in all IL assessed competencies. The need for customized curriculum to address the IL
deficits revealed by new students is evident.

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Journal of Education and Learning   ISSN 1927-5250 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5269 (Online)


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