The following research studies
provide current insights in students’ information seeking behavior, and provide
strategies for teaching effective search techniques, which can be applied to
using online subscription database aggregators.
Mentzer, N., & Fosmire, M. J.
(2015). Quantifying the information habits of high school students engaged in
engineering design. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research
(J-PEER), 5(2), 22-34. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1108&context=jpeer
seldom evaluate the quality of online resources. They tend to rely on
commercial and persuasive websites rather than informative or technical ones.
Students do not search for broad categories of relevant information. Students
are more likely to use search engines than use databases.
H. (2013). International students using online information resources to learn:
Complex experience and learning needs. Journal of Further and Higher
Education, 37(1), 126-146.
students’ information behaviors reflect eight interrelated elements: students’
personal characteristics; the information-learning environment; interactions
with online resources; students’ information literacy level; help-seeking
habits; affective aspects; reflective responses; and cultural-linguistic
dimensions. In using online resources, international students displayed
developed information skills and less-developed critical information use.
S. U. (2015). Enablers and inhibitors to English language learners' research
process in a high school setting. School Library Research, 18. http://www.ala.org.csulb.idm.oclc.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol18/SLR_EnablersandInhibitors_V18.pdf
researcher tracked high school ELL students’ research processes, and found that
by the end of their efforts, students had difficulty finding specific
information, evaluating information, and summarizing it. In the middle of their
efforts, they felt more competent; they did not have the big picture at that
point. Students sometimes searched in their first language, especially if they
did not know the English vocabulary, but they did not include the resulting
resources in their final product. Students wished for guidance from someone who
knew the assignment and the topic, and who could help them find background
information, topical vocabulary, and specific information. They also wanted
more time to research, and sample products.
Teaching ELL students how to seek and use information helps them
learning English and the subject matter. These students should also be supported in
their practice of searching first in their first language, and their resources
should be considered for their final project.
Y., Hsu, Y., Chuang, F., & Hwang, F. (2014). Middle-school students' online
information problem solving behaviors on the information retrieval interface. Australasian
Journal of Educational Technology, 30(2), 245-260.
self-monitoring and metacognition practices facilitate searching strategies. Otherwise,
students can feel overwhelmed by the amount of online information, or settle
for general information, or not organize the found information. Boolean use is
not so important now because of search engine features, but the key words need
to be relevant and specific enough to get good hits.
C. H., Anderson-Inman, L., Terrazas-Arellanes, F., Walden, E. D., &
Hildreth, B. (2015). The SOAR Strategies for Online Academic Research: Helping
Middle School Students. Handbook of Research on Technology Tools for Real-World
Skill Development, 68-103.
need instruction and practice in constructing research questions, searching
effectively, assessing resource credibility, and connecting resources. Middle
school students need step-by-step strategies, which lead them to see themselves
as efficient learners. Teachers also need to tell students that reading online
differs from print reading; the former is more goal-oriented and focused on the
specific task context. Online articles tend to be shorter; web features can be
distracting. The University of Oregon
Center for Advanced Technology in Education created SOAR Toolkit (http://ssoar.uoregon.edu/)
to help middle schools search for and use online information.
1: use digital notebook to brainstorm questions and keywords.
2: refine search terms based on results (get better match).
3: examine URL for authors and institutions, domains, relevance.
and recording information: reflect on understanding and ask self questions;
record notes, create reference list, combine notes into an outline.
O'Sullivan, M. K., & Dallas, K.
B. (2017). A collaborative approach to implementing 21st century skills in a
high school senior research class. Education Libraries, 33(1),
authors outline search strategy steps: select a topic (give them time), concept
map, formulate a research question, distinguish between keywords and subject
headings, develop a search strategy, write the research paper, assess the
process and product.
D. B., & Klipfel, K. M. (2015). How do our students learn? An outline of a
cognitive psychological model for information literacy instruction. Reference
& User Services Quarterly, 55(1), 34-41.
Researchers suggested five principles for
structuring information literacy instruction: create a problem context, limit
the amount of content, build a narrative, focus on deep structure, and practice
deep structure through active learning. It is not necessary to dwell on
learning styles in such instruction, but rather find commonalities among
student learning approaches.
This guides gives practical
strategies for asking good questions and choosing a database.
what are the take-aways from these research studies? Most important is the need
for explicit instruction in how to develop a search strategy based on
identifying the information task, formulating good research questions,
brainstorming keywords and concepts, and getting background information (and
associated specialized vocabulary). Guidance in locating relevant information
should focus on specific, relevant databases and other vetted sources. Students
need to understand and use criteria for evaluating resources, and should be
encouraged to compare resources about the same topics. Students should also be
taught metacognitive skills such as self-reflection, asking themselves
questions about the sources as they examine them, and monitoring their efforts