School students, question formulation and issues of transfer: a constructivist grounded analysis

James Herring

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    5 Citations (Scopus)
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    This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which Year Seven students, teachers and teacher-librarians, in three rural Australian state schools, would value question formulation as an information literacy skill. Question formulation is defined here as students independently formulating their own questions for curricular assignments. It also aimed to evaluate the extent to which these students would transfer question formulation across subjects and across time. The study used a constructivist grounded theory approach and data were analysed using constructivist grounded analysis. The findings of the study indicated that most students, teachers and teacher-librarians valued question formulation as an information literacy skill, but that this value was often limited in scope, e.g. only in relation to information retrieval. Some students, and most teachers and teacher-librarians, saw extensive value in question formulation and took a more holistic view, e.g. linking question formulation with assignment writing. A small minority of students did not value question formulation as they found it a difficult concept. Students used written questions when required to do so by teachers but some students preferred to develop mental questions when doing assignments. There was some clear evidence of transfer, in that some students applied what they had learned about question formulation in a previous term to a new subject assignment. On the other hand, many other students did not transfer what they had learned, and the evidence showed that this was either because they did not understand the concept of transfer (a small minority), or that they lacked motivation to transfer, or that they expected the teacher and/or teacher-librarian to tell them to formulate their own questions. It was clear from the study that there was no culture of transfer in these schools and that this made itunlikely that students, apart from a well-motivated minority, would transfer skills.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)218-229
    Number of pages12
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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