Beth Black, a librarian at the Ohio State University, interviewed 100 students at the end of term to learn more about answers to these questions and more:
How do college students use computing devices to study and learn within campus libraries at “crunch time” (i.e. end of the term)?
What individualized information spaces, consisting of web sites and applications, do students create for themselves?
. . .that nearly all students intentionally make use of a small compass for traversing the ever-widening and complex information landscape they inhabit, whether they are finding information for course work or for use in their daily lives. Moreover, once students in this yearʼs sample located sources, the majority reported using a similar combination of routine formal and self-taught evaluation techniques for assessing Web content and to a lesser extent, library materials.
Project Information Literacy. Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age (p. 36).
Carol Kuhlthau, a professor emeritus of Rutgers University, is known for her six-stage model of students' information-seeking behavior. Founded in educational research, this holistic model helps librarians identifies "zones of uncertainty" in the research process when students could benefit most from librarian intereventions.
Based on their findings published in the November 2010 Project Information Literacy Progress Report, Head and Eisenberg assert that library instruction needs some serious reconsideration (p.39):
We believe library instruction could benefit from some serious rethinking and reexamination. We recommend modifying sessions (in-class and reference encounters) so they emphasize research process—framing a successful research process—over research-finding of sources. . . . Simply put, we are proponents of rethinking and revitalizing library instruction so it gives students guidance for overcoming what many reported was the most difficult part of the entire process—getting started and developing a topic that carries them through the entire research process, in addition to using the best sources.
How might Kuhlthau's findings on the information search process inform this dicussion?
Uncertainty is a concept that offers insight into the user’s quest for meaning within the ISP. If uncertainty is viewed as a sign of the beginning of innovation and creativity, the goal of library and information services shifts from reducing uncertainty to supporting the user’s constructive process. Increased uncertainty in the ISP indicates a need for intervention that enables the person to move on to further construction and understanding.