This is the published version of Van Epps, A. S. (2013). Educating for Evidence Based Decisions in Engineering: The View as Librarian and Instructor. Proceedings of the 120th Annual American Society for Engineering Education Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. June 23-26, 2013 and is available at:


The First Year Engineering program at Purdue University is regularly reviewed and revised to adapt to the needs of the students, feedback from teaching faculty, and the changing needs of the university curriculum. In the last year, a unifying theme was added to the class to help tie all the different activities together. That theme was “evidence based decision making in engineering”, a perfect fit for introducing and discussing information literacy many times throughout the semester, rather than in a single, isolated session.

As instructor for one section of the class, the author identifies benefits to including this message throughout the semester, evidenced by the resources students used as seen during spot reviews of homework assignments and when listening to group work during class. Post-class reflections recorded by the instructor on how class went and what students struggled with, particularly related to identifying information needs and appropriately supporting those needs with evidence, form part of the data for analysis.

A content analysis of the common PowerPoint slides provided for all sections of the class identifies when in the semester the information content is included and in what context. This analysis will produce an outline of mechanisms that could be used in other settings to introduce information literacy content and reinforce the need for quality evidence in making decisions.


instruction, engineering, citation analysis

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