Beyond Google: how do students conduct academic research?

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Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research?
Authors: Alison J. Head [edit item]
Citation: First Monday 12 (8): . 2007 August 6 August.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
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DOI: Define doi.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: No but verified
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Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research? is a publication by Alison J. Head.


[edit] Abstract

This paper reports findings from an exploratory study about how students majoring in humanities and social sciences use the Internet and library resources for research. Using student discussion groups, content analysis, and a student survey, our results suggest students may not be as reliant on public Internet sites as previous research has reported. Instead, students in our study used a hybrid approach for conducting course–related research. A majority of students leveraged both online and offline sources to overcome challenges with finding, selecting, and evaluating resources and gauging professors’ expectations for quality research.

[edit] Research questions

"We studied three primary areas of the student research process:

(1) How do students define and conceptualize the research process?

(2) How do students conduct research tasks (i.e., where do they look for materials, how much time do they spend, and how do they determine quality during the evaluation of resources)?

(3) What barriers and obstacles do students encounter while conducting course–related research?"

Research details

Topics: Cross-domain student readership [edit item]
Domains: Education, Library science [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Other [edit item]
Theories: "Undetermined" [edit item]
Research design: Content analysis, Statistical analysis [edit item]
Data source: Survey responses [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Cross-sectional [edit item]
Unit of analysis: User [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: N/A [edit item]
Wikipedia language: Not specified [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"This study explored assumptions about how students, majoring in humanities and social sciences, used the Internet for course–related research. Our data revealed the student research process is more complex than a Google search and a scant perusal of a results page, as some research has suggested.

A majority of students do not understand what quality research resources are and how to locate them. As a result, students seek a balanced approach to course–related research, leveraging both online and offline resources.

We found students: (1) accessed convenient, vetted, and aggregated online resources from course readings and the campus library Web site, (2) to a lesser extent, used Internet sites, such as Yahoo!, Google, and Wikipedia, and (3) worked with professors or librarians one–on–one to narrow down searches and clarify expectations for assignments.

Whether these findings hold with students from other campuses is unclear. Further research needs to be conducted on campuses with different study populations. Nevertheless, data presented in this paper may help inform discussion about students’ competencies for locating, selecting, evaluating and using information — competencies developed over time and essential for lifelong learning [3].

Recommendations

We offer three recommendations, based on our findings, for improving the student research process in a digital age:

Research assignment handouts disseminated to students should include details about expectations for conducting quality research, including the use of the Internet.

Professors and librarians should recognize students’ needs for individualized coaching, so that students’ abilities to find, select, and evaluate resources may be improved.

Above all, the value of “high touch” interactions (human–mediated) with students in addition to “high tech” interactions (computer–mediated) should not be underestimated."

[edit] Comments

[edit] References

Lori Arp, Beth S. Woodard, Joyce Lindstrom, and Diana D. Shonrock, 2006. “Faculty–librarian collaboration to achieve integration of information literacy,” Reference & User Services Quarterly, volume 46, number 1, pp.18–23.

Kathleen Dunn, 2002. “Assessing information literacy skills in the California State University: A progress report,” Journal of Academic Librarianship, volume 28 (January–March), pp. 26–35.

Mary Ann Fitzgerald, 2004. “Making the Leap from High School to College,” Knowledge Quest, volume 32, number 4 (March/April), pp. 19–24.

Jillian Griffiths and Peter Brophy, 2005. “Student searching behavior and the Web: use of academic resources and Google,” Library Trends, volume 53, number 4, pp. 539–554.

Deborah J. Grimes and Carl H. Boening, 2001, “Worries with the Web: A look at student use of web resources,” College and Research Libraries, volume 62, number 4 (January), pp. 11–23.

Steve Jones, 2002. “The Internet goes to college: how students are living in the future with today’s technology,” Pew Internet & American Life Project, at http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/71/report_display.asp, accessed 19 May 2007.

Klaus Krippendorf, 1980. Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, p. 134.

Gloria Leckie, 1996. “Desperately seeking citations: Uncovering faculty assumptions about the undergraduate research process,” Journal of Academic Librarianship, volume 22, number 3 (May), pp. 201–208.

Saint Mary’s Factbook, 2007, at http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/about/fact_book/toc.html, accessed 19 May 2007.

Christen Thompson, 2003. “Information illiterate or lazy: How college students use the Web for research,” Libraries and the Academy, volume 3, number 2 (April), pp. 259–268.

Anna M. Van Scoyoc, 2006. “The electronic academic library: Undergraduate research behavior in a library without books,” Libraries and the Academy, volume 6, number 1 (January), pp. 47–58.

Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Beyond Google: how do students conduct academic research?"RDF feed
AbstractThis paper reports findings from an explorThis paper reports findings from an exploratory study about how students majoring in humanities and social sciences use the Internet and library resources for research. Using student discussion groups, content analysis, and a student survey, our results suggest students may not be as reliant on public Internet sites as previous research has reported. Instead, students in our study used a hybrid approach for conducting course–related research. A majority of students leveraged both online and offline sources to overcome challenges with finding, selecting, and evaluating resources and gauging professors’ expectations for quality research.essors’ expectations for quality research.
Added by wikilit teamNo but verified +
Collected data time dimensionCross-sectional +
ConclusionThis study explored assumptions about how This study explored assumptions about how students, majoring in humanities and social sciences, used the Internet for course–related research. Our data revealed the student research process is more complex than a Google search and a scant perusal of a results page, as some research has suggested.

A majority of students do not understand what quality research resources are and how to locate them. As a result, students seek a balanced approach to course–related research, leveraging both online and offline resources.

We found students: (1) accessed convenient, vetted, and aggregated online resources from course readings and the campus library Web site, (2) to a lesser extent, used Internet sites, such as Yahoo!, Google, and Wikipedia, and (3) worked with professors or librarians one–on–one to narrow down searches and clarify expectations for assignments.

Whether these findings hold with students from other campuses is unclear. Further research needs to be conducted on campuses with different study populations. Nevertheless, data presented in this paper may help inform discussion about students’ competencies for locating, selecting, evaluating and using information — competencies developed over time and essential for lifelong learning [3].

Recommendations

We offer three recommendations, based on our findings, for improving the student research process in a digital age:

Research assignment handouts disseminated to students should include details about expectations for conducting quality research, including the use of the Internet.

Professors and librarians should recognize students’ needs for individualized coaching, so that students’ abilities to find, select, and evaluate resources may be improved.

Above all, the value of “high touch” interactions (human–mediated) with students in addition to “high tech” interactions (computer–mediated) should not be underestimated.
er–mediated) should not be underestimated.
Data sourceSurvey responses +
Dates6 August +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Beyond%2BGoogle%3A%2BHow%2BDo%2BStudents%2BConduct%2BAcademic%2BResearch%3F%22 +
Has authorAlison J. Head +
Has domainEducation + and Library science +
Has topicCross-domain student readership +
Issue8 +
MonthAugust +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inFirst Monday +
Research designContent analysis + and Statistical analysis +
Research questionsWe studied three primary areas of the studWe studied three primary areas of the student research process:

(1) How do students define and conceptualize the research process?

(2) How do students conduct research tasks (i.e., where do they look for materials, how much time do they spend, and how do they determine quality during the evaluation of resources)?

(3) What barriers and obstacles do students encounter while conducting course–related research?
while conducting course–related research?
Revid10,682 +
TheoriesUndetermined
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleBeyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research?
Unit of analysisUser +
Urlhttp://firstmonday.org/article/view/1998/1873 +
Volume12 +
Wikipedia coverageOther +
Wikipedia data extractionN/A +
Wikipedia languageNot specified +
Wikipedia page typeN/A +
Year2007 +