ERIC Number: ED390394
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
Information Retrieval Techniques: The Differences in Cognitive Strategies and Search Behaviors among Graduate Students in an Academic Library.
Simon, Charlotte E.
Graduate schools have been admitting more and more students older than the "traditional" 18- to 24-year-old campus population. These adult learners may come to their programs of study without formal training in library use in general or literature searches in particular. By examining various successful and unsuccessful strategies used by these graduate students to complete literature searches, instructional designers and librarian educators can learn what types of training these learners need most. Several other studies of this type are briefly discussed in a literature review. The 79 student subjects who completed this study (112 began it) were all from urban Wayne State University, all over 24 years of age "with other life roles and responsibilities," and all at varying stages in the instructional technology or library science programs, which made them likely to have interdisciplinary research needs and a preference for the general library collection, rather than specialized collections like law or engineering. Subjects were asked to fill out a search report chart during their search, as well as pre- and post-search questionnaires. Data was gathered on variables in demographics, subject matter knowledge, searching experience, time constraints, and attitudes toward query formulation and search strategies. Among the study's findings were: (1) students generally considered themselves independent explorers of the library who were knowledgeable about database searches, but they actually tended to search much too broadly or haphazardly, particularly without the aid of thesauri; (2) many students did not allow enough time to precoordinate a search strategy; (3) many students claimed to have difficulty locating materials for which they had retrieved citations but rarely asked for interlibrary loan service or other assistance; (4) students were generally satisfied with their results but agreed prior training would have been helpful. Instruction in information literacy is recommended. Samples of the three data collection forms are appended. (Contains 51 references and 13 tables.) (BEW)
Descriptors: Adult Students, Behavior Patterns, Cognitive Processes, Comparative Analysis, Data Analysis, Graduate Students, Higher Education, Information Retrieval, Information Seeking, Library Skills, Library Surveys, Online Searching, Search Strategies, Student Attitudes, Use Studies, User Satisfaction (Information)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A