College libraries and student culture : what we now know

March 29, 2013

Want to learn more about information literacy?

The following book presents research from the Illinois Wesleyen College library on student and faculty perceptions and use. The study used focus groups and ethnographic research to collect information that included how students do research and what are faculty expectations of the library.

College libraries and student culture : what we now know / edited by Lynda M. Duke and Andrew D. Asher
Chicago : American Library Association, 2012.
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Research Process

August 12, 2009

-Anthony Kaiser (Assistant Librarian)

Back in another life, I was a composition teacher.  While pursuing my MA in Teaching Composition and teaching basic college writing courses, I learned quite a bit about the writing process.  In short, my professors and mentors taught me that writers don’t just sit down and start writing; they enter into a recursive process of starts, false starts, revisions, re-revisions, and lots and lots of coffee (I probably made that last one up).

After ten years of teaching writing, I changed  careers and entered library-land.  Now, as I teach students about library resources, I wonder: is there a research process?

Carol Kuthlthau, in her book Seeking Meaning, outlines a possible approach to the research process.  Her description of the process consists of six stages.  The first stage is Task Initiation.  This is simply the point when the researcher (the student being the obvious example) realizes that research will be needed.  It is a time for brainstorming and browsing resources to try and hit upon a direction.  The second stage is Topic Selection.  This is the moment when the student decides the general topic of the research.  Third, is Prefocus Exploration.   I would bet that this is the step most students skip.  Here the researcher reads up on the topic searching for a focus.  To many, this would seem to be a waste of time, but as anyone who has read overgeneralized writing, this stage is critical.  Fourth, we have Focus Formulation, the moment when the focus of the research is determined.  And so, finally, we arrive at Information Collection.  The real collecting of resources for the project begins.  The final step Search Closure describes the final checking of the research before the paper is presented to the public.

I rather like this model, and I will continue to comment on it in more specific terms in later postings.

Kuhlthau, CC. (2004)  Seeking meaning: A process approach to library and information services.  Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

Journal of Information Literacy

July 21, 2009

Journal of Information Literacy

The Journal of Information Literacy is an international, peer-reviewed, open source journal that covers info lit topics.