This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The published version is available in The Reference Librarian:

Heather A. Howard & Dave Zwicky (2019) Student Information Use and Decision-Making in Innovation Competitions and the Impact of Librarian Interventions, The Reference Librarian, DOI: 10.1080/02763877.2019.1691966


At a large Midwestern university, librarians work closely with an annual undergraduate agricultural innovation competition to guide students through the process of conducting market research and assessing patentability. In 2018, the authors conducted an exploratory study using focus groups of students who had participated in that year’s competition in order to learn how students find and use information in a competition setting, to evaluate the impact of library support on the students’ success, and inform further assessment activities. Results showed that students used information from the library and from their own research, notably seeking out first-hand expertise, to practice evidence-based decision-making.


academic libraries, decision-making, information literacy, higher education, innovation

Date of this Version