Skip to main content

Information Literacy as a Key to Academic Success: Results from a Longitudinal Study

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Information Literacy: Key to an Inclusive Society (ECIL 2016)

Part of the book series: Communications in Computer and Information Science ((CCIS,volume 676))

Included in the following conference series:

  • 2029 Accesses


The present paper examines whether university students’ information literacy contributes to their academic performance over and above their level of general cognitive abilities. Fifty-three German psychology students (18–25 years, 85% female) participated in a longitudinal study with four waves of measurement spanning the first 18 months of their bachelor studies. Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that scholarly information literacy (as assessed by a fixed-choice test of knowledge about information search and evaluation) predicted university grade point average as well as basic psychology knowledge even when controlling for fluid intelligence. According to additional simple slope analyses, information literacy was able to compensate for limited cognitive ability: Information literacy and academic performance were only associated in students with lower working memory capacity.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
$34.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. 1.

    Research was funded by the German Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation with a grant acquired in the Leibniz Competition 2013 (grant number: SAW-2013-ZPID-1 195).

  2. 2.

    The total sample of the longitudinal study comprised N = 137 students at t1 (representing approximately 80 percent of that cohort of first year students enrolled at the university), and still n = 115 students at t4. With regard to gender, age, and all study variables referred to in this paper, no differences were found between those participants who refused to participate in the additional study and the participating subsample. Thus, the subsample may be considered representative for the total longitudinal cohort.


  1. Eisenberg, M.B., Lowe, C.A., Spitzer, K.L.: Information Literacy: Essential Skills for the Information Age. Information Resources Publications, Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport (2004)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Squibb, S.D., Mikkelsen, S.: Assessing the value of course-embedded ınformation literacy on student learning and achievement. Coll. Res. Libr. 77(2), 164–183 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Cowan, N.: Working memory underpins cognitive development, learning, and education. Educ. Psychol. Rev. 26(2), 197–223 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Gustafsson, J., Balke, G.: General and specific abilities as predictors of school achievement. Multivar. Behav. Res. 28, 407–434 (1993)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Morris, S.B., Daisley, R.L., Wheeler, M., Boyer, P.: A meta-analysis of the relationship between individual assessments and job performance. J. Appl. Psychol. 100(1), 5–20 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Roth, B., Becker, N., Romeyke, S., Schäfer, S., Domnick, F., Spinath, F.M.: Intelligence and school grades: a meta-analysis. Intelligence 53, 118–137 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Kiliç-Çakmak, E.: Learning strategies and motivational factors predicting ınformation literacy self-efficacy of e-learners. Australas. J. Educ. Technol. 26(2), 192–208 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. American Psychological Association: APA Guidelines For The Undergraduate Psychology Major: Version 2.0 (2013).

  9. Brand-Gruwel, S., Wopereis, I., Vermetten, Y.: Information problem solving by experts and novices: analysis of a complex cognitive skill. Comput. Hum. Behav. 21(3), 487–508 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Johnston, B., Webber, S.: Information literacy in higher education: a review and case study. Stud. High. Educ. 28(3), 335–352 (2003)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bowles-Terry, M.: Library instruction and academic success: a mixed-methods assessment of a library instruction program. Evid. Based Libr. Inf. Pract. 7(1), 82–95 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Soria, K.M., Fransen, J., Nackerud, S.: Stacks, serials, search engines, and students’ success: first-year undergraduate students’ library use, academic achievement, and retention. J. Acad. Libr. 40(1), 84–91 (2014)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Cattell, R.B.: Abilities: Their Structure and Growth. Houghton Mifflin, Boston (1971)

    Google Scholar 

  14. Carpenter, P., Just, M., Shell, P.: What one ıntelligence test measures: a theoretical account of the processing in the raven progressive matrices test. Psychol. Rev. 97, 404–431 (1990)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Raven, J., Raven, J.C., Court, J.H.: Raven Manual Section 4: Advanced Progressive Matrices. Oxford Psychologists Press, Oxford (1998)

    Google Scholar 

  16. Rosman, T., Mayer, A.-K., Krampen, G.: Intelligence, academic self-concept, and information literacy: the role of adequate perceptions of academic ability in the acquisition of knowledge about information searching. Inf. Res. 20(1), 1 (2015). Special Supplement, paper isic34

    Google Scholar 

  17. Baddeley, A.: Working memory: theories, models, and controversies. Ann. Rev. Psychol. 63, 1–29 (2012)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Rosman, T., Mayer, A.-K., Krampen, G.: A longitudinal study on ınformation-seeking knowledge in psychology undergraduates: exploring the role of ınformation literacy ınstruction and working memory capacity. Comput. Educ. 96, 94–108 (2016)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Weinert, S., Artelt, C., Prenzel, M., Senkbeil, M., Carstensen, C.H.: Development of competencies across the life span. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft 14(2), 67–86 (2011)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Baumert, J., Lüdtke, O., Trautwein, U., Brunner, M.: Large-scale student assessment studies measure the results of processes of knowledge acquisition: evidence in support of the distinction between intelligence and student achievement. Educ. Res. Rev. 4(3), 165–176 (2009)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Hambrick, D.Z., Engle, R.W.: Effects of domain knowledge, working memory capacity, and age on cognitive performance: an investigation of the knowledge-is-power hypothesis. Cogn. Psychol. 44(4), 339–387 (2002)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Escher, S., Grabarkiewicz, R., Frese, M., van Steekelenburg, G.: The moderator effect of cognitive ability on the relationship between planning strategies and business success of small scale business owners in south africa: a longitudinal study. J. Dev. Entrepreneurship 7(3), 305–318 (2002)

    Google Scholar 

  23. Hamel, R., Schmittmann, V.D.: The 20-minute version as a predictor of the raven advanced progressive matrices test. Educ. Psychol. Meas. 66(6), 1039–1046 (2006)

    Article  MathSciNet  Google Scholar 

  24. Wilhelm, O., Hildebrandt, A., Oberauer, K.: What is working memory capacity, and how can we measure it. Front. Psychol. 4(433), 1–22 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  25. Leichner, N., Peter, J., Mayer, A.-K., Krampen, G.: Assessing ınformation literacy among german psychology students. Ref. Serv. Rev. 41, 660–674 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Peter, J., Leichner, N., Mayer, A.K., Krampen, G.: A short test for the assessment of basic knowledge in psychology. Psychol. Learn. Teach. 14(3), 224–235 (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Griggs, R.A., Bujak-Johnson, A., Proctor, D.L.: Using common core vocabulary in text selection and teaching the introductory course. Teach. Psychol. 31(4), 265–269 (2004)

    Google Scholar 

  28. Aiken, L.S., West, S.G., Reno, R.R.: Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions. Sage, Newbury Park (1991)

    Google Scholar 

  29. Hayes, A.F.: Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: a regression-based approach. Guilford Press, New York (2013)

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anne-Kathrin Mayer .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing AG

About this paper

Cite this paper

Mayer, AK., Krampen, G. (2016). Information Literacy as a Key to Academic Success: Results from a Longitudinal Study. In: Kurbanoğlu, S., et al. Information Literacy: Key to an Inclusive Society. ECIL 2016. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 676. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-52161-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-52162-6

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics