Karen Schneider’s blog post, “Must-Read Project Information Literacy Report,” alerted me yesterday to what appears to be a really great document, “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age” (PDF, 42 pages). I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I am intrigued by the findings of the survey conducted by the study’s authors from Project Information Literacy:
1. Many students in the sample reported being curious, engaged, and motivated at the beginning of the course-related and everyday life research process. Respondentsʼ need for big-picture context, or background about a topic, was the trigger for beginning course-related (65%) or everyday life research (63%).
2. Almost every student in the sample turned to course readings—not Google—first for course-related research assignments. Likewise, Google and Wikipedia were the go-to sites for everyday life research for nearly every respondent.
3. Librarians were tremendously underutilized by students. Eight out of 10 of the respondents reported rarely, if ever, turning to librarians for help with course-related research assignments.
4. Nine out of 10 students in the sample turned to libraries for certain online scholarly research databases (such as those provided by EBSCO, JSTOR, or ProQuest) for conducting course-related research, valuing the resources for credible content, in-depth information, and the ability to meet instructorsʼ expectations.
5. Even though it was librarians who initially informed students about using online scholarly research databases during freshmen training sessions, students in follow-up interviews reported turning to instructors as valued research coaches, as they advanced through the higher levels of their education.
6. The reasons why students procrastinate are no longer driven by the same pre-Internet fears of failure and a lack of confidence that once were part of the college scene in the 1980s. Instead, we found that most of the digital natives in the sample (40%) tended to delay work on assignments as they juggled their needs to meet competing course demands from other classes.
Head, Alison J. and Michael B. Eisenberg. “Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age.” Project Information Literacy. 1 December 2009. Web.
Schneider, Karen. “Must-Read Project Information Literacy Report.” Free Range Librarian, 1 December 2009. Web.