Digital Natives: effective information- seekers or lost in the woods.

Year: 2015

Author: Claridge, Cheryl

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Tempting as it is to assume that today’s student is an experienced user of internet resources with effective information-seeking skills, this assumption could be problematic. The students in this qualitative study seemed largely overconfident in their ability to seek and use information in an academic environment and either unmotivated or too time poor to take efforts to improve these skills.
The researcher used Think-Aloud Protocols to observe the information-seeking behaviours of eight undergraduate creative arts students who were seeking information for an assessment task. A constructivist approach informed the analysis and interpretation of the data and the nature of the recommendations.
While many of the participants were confident in their use of technology most demonstrated neither particularly effective search skills, nor discernment in their evaluation of search results. Furthermore, despite the majority of participants having received library skills training, there was little evidence of any impact on their information-skills.
This study highlighted the need for skills development activities that are authentic, relevant, and embedded within course-related learning and assessment activities. Librarians and academics need to collaborate in teaching information-skills in such a way that students see them as relevant to course content; and that result in effective learning for students.