The information literacy needs and practices of research students in the digital age

S. Wright, Christina Williamson, V. Bernath, J. Sullivan

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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Abstract

Interview techniques were used to elicit rich-picture, in-depth perspectives. Analysis was influenced by the constructivist grounded theory approach.Common themes identified in the students' accounts concerned selection of research topics, use and appropriateness of various sources of information (print, people and electronic), online search strategies including the selection of tools such as search engines and particular online resources, the impact of the online environment on research practice, students decide when enough information has been gathered, how reliability and authority of information are determined, the organisation and assimilation of information, and students' perceptions of the physical versus the online library.The conclusion will discuss the implications of the findings for information professionals working in the tertiary sector.The nature of tertiary learning has changed significantly over the past decade, in part as a result of the now widespread use of information and communication technology. Given the role of library and information professionals in assisting students through information literacy programs, there is a need for research focussing on student understandings and practices in obtaining, managing and using information. The effectiveness of information literacy programs will be enhanced by consideration of students' information seeking and management practices, taking into account their preferences and problems. While there have been several significant studies involving tertiary students, a better understanding of the specific information literacy needs and behaviours of research students is required.The study reported in this paper focuses on the following key questions: In what ways are today's research students required to be information literate in their study? What strategies do students develop in order to meet such requirements? These questions were investigated using an interpretivist/ constructivist framework, with the researchers therefore interested in the different interpretations which individual research students would bring to information literacy questions. A purposive sample of research students from one university faculty (Faculty of Information Technology at Monash University)1 was selected to ensure relative homogeneity for key characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRAILS2
EditorsAnne LLoyd, Bob Pymm
Place of PublicationWagga Wagga NSW
PublisherCentre for Information Studies
Pages141-152
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)1876938250
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) Seminar - NLA Canberra, Australia
Duration: 16 Sep 200617 Sep 2006

Conference

ConferenceResearch Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) Seminar
Country/TerritoryAustralia
Period16/09/0617/09/06

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