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Medicine - Undergraduate

Explore library resources for Undergraduate Medicine program at McMaster.

Milestones for Medical Students

By the end of MF1 you should :

  • Feel comfortable locating key textbooks
  • Be able to search a database to locate articles
  • Assess the trustworthiness of resources
  • Defend your selection of a resource to your tutorial group, and provide peer feedback on resources used by other students


By the end of medical school you should be able to :

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information you need (e.g. recognize a background versus foreground question, formulate a searchable question using PICO)
  • Access information effectively and efficiently using a variety of resources (e.g. point of care tools, databases, sources for guidelines, policy papers and statistics)
  • Critically evaluate information and incorporate this into your knowledge base and value system (CRAAP test, critical appraisal of articles)
  • Use information for a specific purpose (e.g. article publication, patient teaching)
  • Understand the economic, legal, and societal issues surrounding the use of information (copyright, plagiarism)

Curriculum Documents


The Health Sciences Library (HSL) oversees the Information Literacy curriculum for the School of Medicine.  This curriculum is guided by competency statements from two professional bodies: CanMEDS (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) and Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Association of College & Research Libraries).  It is also aligned to the International Medical Informatics Association recommendation on medical informatics competencies.

Information literacy encompasses the critical thinking skills required for efficient and effective retrieval, evaluation, management, and ethical use of information in clinical and research contexts. It is an essential component of problem-based, self-directed learning.  A strong basis in information literacy lays the foundation for Medical Decision Making and supports following the CanMED roles: Medical Expert, Communicator, Manager (Leader), Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional.  


Information Literacy Competencies and Assessment

Information literacy skills are assessed along a continuum.  Differing degrees of competence are expected as you progress through medical school and residency. Certain skills are necessary for success in PBL during pre-clerkship while more advanced information skills will be acquired only as you gain clinical and research exposure. A document outlining degrees of competence for various stages (junior student, senior student etc) can be found on the Resource for Medicine webpage.