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Reference Services Review






Emerald Publishing Limited

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



This mixed-methods study assesses a pilot library curriculum in a general education English composition course. Case-based learning (CBL), a form of problem-based learning (PBL), was used to scaffold information literacy skills and concepts across sessions. This article explores the approach's impact on student learning and engagement.


Participants were enrolled in four sections of an undergraduate composition course. Two sections were taught with the CBL library curriculum, and two with the standard library curriculum as a control. Pretest/posttest surveys included quantitative and qualitative measures to assess students in several areas of information literacy. Weekly reflections from a subsample of students were analyzed, and the research team conducted structured classroom observations and teaching reflections.


Quantitative survey results did not support the hypotheses that the CBL curriculum would increase students' confidence and skill levels compared to their control section peers. Although there was no significant difference between sections in measured information literacy outcomes, students generally agreed that the case studies used in the CBL curriculum taught skills applicable to their research. Teaching observation data revealed the cohesion of the curriculum across library sessions and increased student engagement in classroom activities. However, some of the case studies could be improved, and some limitations in study design point to the need for further research.


This study addresses a gap in the literature through a mixed-methods assessment of CBL pedagogy using a control group, contributing to an understanding of the role of PBL pedagogies in information literacy curricula.



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