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ERIC Number: ED525003
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 286
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1244-2098-1
The Information Seeking and Use of English Language Learners in a High School Setting
Kim, Sung Un
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
This study examines the information seeking and use behaviors of English language learners (ELLs) while performing a research task, using Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and Kuhlthau's Information Search Process as theoretical frameworks. The research tasks implemented in this study were curriculum based units where students engaged a diverse range of information sources to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Participants of this study were 48 ELL students from three classes at a public high school in New Jersey. During a 4-5 week period, 10 students from one class were required to choose potential future careers and write a research paper on the college preparation, whereas the 38 students from the other two classes were required to create a foldable on a genetic disorder of their choice. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire, process surveys at three times (initiation, mid-point and completion), observation, and semi-structured interviews with students and teachers. All manipulated data from the questionnaire and process surveys were statistically analyzed. To corroborate the findings from the questionnaires and process surveys, field notes and transcripts were underwent content analysis. This study shows what ELL students experience when searching for information throughout the course of a research project in English and what factors interact with individuals' primary patterns in their information behavior. The findings indicate that having a fluent English speaker or using some English at home gives ELL students more confidence in their English language abilities, which might impact their information behavior. Among the ELL groups, only the intermediate ELL group exhibited significant increases in estimated knowledge and in positive feelings, particularly relief and satisfaction, as they progressed in their research project. In addition, this study addresses how ELL students' research process is influenced by gender, ethnicity, and the nature of the research task. This study sheds light on how cultural and linguistic background can influence people's information seeking and use. At a pedagogical level, the findings facilitate understanding of the unique needs of ELL students in K-12 school contexts and suggest effective strategies and instructional interventions for meeting those needs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey