Information literacy as a measurable construct A need for more freely available, validated, and wide ranging instruments

Main Article Content

Helena Hollis


Though definitions of Information Literacy (IL) vary, there is consensus in the literature that it is one coherent variable or measurable construct so important it has been called a human right (Sturges & Gastinger, 2010). This paper reviews existing IL measures, treating them as psychometric tests, aiming to address two questions: do existing IL tests sufficiently meet the needs of researchers and what do the tests tell us about whether or not there truly is a single variable identifiable as IL?


Existing instruments for testing IL will be assessed. Only validated, freely available, testing instruments are considered. All of the current IL tests of this type are context bound to education, and are often domain-specific. These are only useful for researchers looking to assess these particular populations. However, if IL is a human right it ought to be a construct that exists across all human populations. The context and domain specificity of existing IL tests is therefore surprising; it implies that IL is something specific to higher education, not a factor in the population at large.


This paper therefore argues for a need to develop validated testing instruments for IL that are context and domain independent and made freely available. The review of IL tests will benefit researchers looking to investigate IL. The broader argument of this paper aims to be of interest to a wider library and information science audience seeking to understand whether IL is indeed a coherent singular construct.

Article Details

How to Cite
HOLLIS, Helena. Information literacy as a measurable construct. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 2, p. 76-88, dec. 2018. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 03 july 2022. doi:
Peer reviewed articles from LILAC