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How do students conduct academic research?

This study appears in the current issue of First Monday, a peer-reviewed online-only journal dealing with digital culture. It is by Alison Head.
Beyond Google: How do students conduct academic research?
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.”
“Major findings from our study can be summarized as follows:
– A majority of students began their research by consulting course readings or the library’s Web site for online access to scholarly journals. To a lesser extent, students used Yahoo!, Google, and Wikipedia as first steps.
– Most students consulted aggregated research resources — many of which had been identified for their scholarly quality by professors, librarians, or library databases.
– Many students were challenged by research tasks, especially selecting and evaluating information and figuring out professors’ expectations for quality research.”
It is well worth the read. It seems that things are better than some opinions would have us think. Skills are evolving. More libraries should do, publish and blog their findings.
Stephen

Posted on: August 24, 2007, 4:32 pm Category: Uncategorized

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