This study aims to empirically measure the Information Literacy Core Competency (ILCC) levels of social science researchers on ACRL’s Standards. The core concepts identified from standard I to V are: ‘Information Need’, ‘Information Access’, ‘Information Evaluation’, ‘Information Use’ and ‘Information Use Ethics’. The study was conducted on a sample of 520 researchers enrolled for Ph.D. in select central universities in National Capital Region, India. These researchers hail from different parts of the country and provide a pan India representation. The questionnaire schedule was developed translating each identified concept into a set of ten questions and 2 marks were allotted to each correct answer. Various techniques of descriptive statistics including frequency distribution, percentage, bar graph and tools of inferential statistics like One-way ANOVA, F-ratio and Post-Hoc test using LSD were applied for data analysis. A Performance and Competency Scale was used to measure the ILCC levels.
The study indicates that on Standard I, 77.7% of the respondents comprising 15.8% from Economics, 14% from Sociology, 13.7% from Political Science, 12.3% from History and 11% from both Geography and Law were having ILCC to determine the extent and articulate information need. The ILCC level of the respondents on Standard II was found low as only 53.8% of the respondents including 12.1% from Economics, 9.4% from Law, 9.0% from Political Science, 8.5% from History, 7.5% from Sociology and 7.3% from Geography were identified competent in ILCC to access needed information effectively and efficiently. On the competency scale maximum 13.8% of respondents from Economics, followed by 13.4% from Sociology, 11.5% from Political Science, 9.6% from Law and 9.2% from both History and Geography constituted 66.9% of the respondents competent in ILCC on Standard III to evaluate information and its sources critically for its authenticity and reliability. As many as 76.2% of the respondents (16.2% from Economics, 14.4% from Sociology, 12.3% from History, 12.1% from Political Science, 10.8% from Geography and 10.4% from Law) have shown ILCC on Standard IV to use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. On Standard V, maximum 16.5% of respondents from Economics, followed by 15% from Political Science, 13.1% from History, 12.7% from Sociology, 11.3% from Law, and 11.0% from Geography constituted 79.6% of the respondents competent in ILCC to use information ethically and legally.
Thus, on the competency scale, maximum 46.2% of the researchers for 'Information Access', followed by 33.1% for 'Information Evaluation’, 23.8% in ‘Information Use', 22.3% on 'Information Need' and 20.4% for 'Information Use Ethics' have shown incompetency in ILCC.
The study also aims to identify and establish the ILCC levels of researchers within and across different subjects. The findings are supposed to be of great help to all the stakeholders to plan, organize and participate in various information literacy activities and ultimately enhance the IL competency of researchers.