N. Wesseling

University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam (NETHERLANDS)
With this paper I investigate the extent to which information problem solving (IPS) skills can be measured in a quantitative study using a combination of two tools originally designed for use in qualitative research. Using statistical methods, I evaluate these tools – developed for training and rating information-literacy skills, respectively – to see if they give a reliable indication of the level of IPS skills in a group of 869 students in higher education. I examine both the normal distribution and the variance of the students’ scores for the various IPS skills. Furthermore, I use the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test to measure the level of agreement between the students’ scores on those skills and to discover any differences in the way the teachers rated them. I also discuss the results of that test in relation to the reliability of those tools in general and to their applicability for quantitative research purposes in particular. Although the tools have previously proven useful in qualitative studies, my results show that they will require some adjustment before they can be used effectively in quantitative research. I conclude with suggestions as to which adjustments should be made.