Impact of Library Instruction on the Development of Student Skills in Synthesis and Source Attribution: A Model for Academic Program Assessment

Sarah P.C. Dahlen, Ryne Leuzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper details the process and results of a multistep assessment project addressing senior Social and Behavioral Science majors' proficiency in information synthesis in capstone papers and source attribution in oral presentations. The study entailed using results from a campus-wide assessment project to identify challenging areas of information literacy for students and subsequently designing and implementing an instructional intervention focused on those areas. The intervention was assessed through a rubric-based evaluation of student work, and the resulting data suggest that the intervention was effective in enhancing students' proficiency in the areas targeted. Our strongest result was an improvement in citation practices in capstone presentations; while improvements in synthesis of information from sources were not as large or definitive, they were still suggestive of the potential that librarians have to increase students' skills in this area. This paper may prove useful for those seeking inspiration for providing instruction on synthesis in written work or attribution in presentations, or those interested in a model for using campus-wide or academic program assessment to measure the impact of library instruction.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalThe Journal of Academic Librarianship
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Information literacy
  • Synthesis
  • Source attribution
  • Citation
  • Assessment
  • Evidence-based practice

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