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Self -Views of Information Seeking Skills: Undergraduates Understanding of What It Means to be Information Literate Melissa Gross & Don Latham OCLC/ALISE.

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Presentation on theme: "Self -Views of Information Seeking Skills: Undergraduates Understanding of What It Means to be Information Literate Melissa Gross & Don Latham OCLC/ALISE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Self -Views of Information Seeking Skills: Undergraduates Understanding of What It Means to be Information Literate Melissa Gross & Don Latham OCLC/ALISE Research Project

2 Overview 1.Background 2.Study design 3.Research questions 4.Participants 5.Data collection 6.Results 7.Implications 8.Future research

3 Background Information literacy (IL) skills are crucial in todays society –Information Power, ACRLs IL Competency Standards Competency theory (Kruger & Dunning, 1999) suggests that non-proficient individuals are less likely than proficient students to be able to self-assess their skill set accurately. –Previous research suggests that competency theory applies in the domain of IL (Gross & Latham, 2007). Bruce (1997) studied how educators in higher ed understand IL –Very little research has been done into how undergraduates understand IL and their own IL skills

4 Study Design Participants were recruited from the freshman class at FSU. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants. Information literacy measured using the Information Literacy Test (ILT) developed at James Madison University (n.d.).

5 Research Questions I.Perceptions of information literacy What are freshmens understandings of what IL is? Do freshmens conceptions of IL vary for self-generated and imposed information seeking? What knowledge base do freshmen see as necessary to become information literate? What skills do freshmen see as necessary to be a competent information seeker? How do freshmen define successful information seeking?

6 Research Questions (cont.) II. Perceptions of attaining information literacy How have freshmen learned what they know about IL? Are freshmen ideas about learning IL different for self-generated and imposed information seeking? How do freshmen think that the knowledge base necessary for IL is best achieved? How do freshmen think that the skills necessary for IL are best achieved?

7 Research Questions (cont.) III. Self-views of information literacy How do freshmen describe themselves in terms of their IL competency? Do freshmens self-views of their own information seeking vary for self-generated and imposed information needs? How do freshmen assess their own knowledge base as regards IL? How do freshmen assess their own skill levels as regards IL? How do freshmens self-assessments of IL compare to their scores on a standardized test of information literacy?

8 Participants Second-semester freshmen at Florida State University Recruited via an email solicitation Targeted freshmen in the top 10% and bottom 10% as identified by admissions criteria: –High school GPA & –ACT / adjusted SAT score

9 Demographics Total of 20 participants Gender –15 (75%) females – 5 (25%) males Age –Almost all were 18 or 19 years of age

10 Demographics (cont.) Segment –Top 10%:17 (85%) –Bottom 10%: 3 (15%) Majors –STEM 8 –Business/Economics5 –Music3 –Humanities3 –Education2 –Undecided1 * Note: 2 people were double majoring

11 Incentives Students were given a $30 gift card to the university bookstore for participating in the interview. They were given a $20 gift card for taking the ILT. Students were told that those who scored in the top 15% on the ILT would be eligible for a drawing to receive one of two $50 gift cards.

12 Data Collection: ILT Computer-based test Provides individual scores Measures information literacy, based on the ACRL Competency Standards (ICT measures both information & computer literacy.) Has been validated and tested for reliability

13 ILT Response Time Analysis Performed by researchers at JMU Looks at the time spent on each question posed by the ILT by the individual respondent Compares time spent to benchmarks determined for each question concerning the minimum time it takes a person to answer it, if it is fully read and responded to Our results indicate that students spent a reasonable amount of time on each question

14 Interviews Semi-structured interviews Each was 45 to 60 minutes. Both researchers were present during the interview--one asked the questions; the other took notes. The interviews were recorded and later transcribed by a graduate assistant. Both researchers coded the interviews and then compared their coding. Analysis used constant comparative method.

15 Results ILT scores Interview data

16 Interpreting ILT Scores (Wise, Cameron, Yang & Davis, n.d.) 65 questions on the test 60 questions count; 5 are questions in development > 53 = Advanced 39-53 = Proficient < 39 = Non-proficient

17 Results: ILT Scores Overall, these students have proficient information literacy skills One student scored as advanced, with a score of 54. One student scored as non-proficient, with a score of 38. 18/20 students scored as proficient, with scores between 39 and 53.

18 Results: ILT Scores (cont.) Score# of Participants Level 541 (5%)Advanced 48 - 5310 (50%)Proficient 42 - 478 (40%)Proficient 381 (5%)Non- proficient

19 Perceptions of information literacy Students were unfamiliar with the term information literacy Students see information seeking as comprised of thinking and learning skills, more than as computer or library skills –Understanding/stating the question –Ability to assess information quality –Ability to match sources to questions Success is finding what you need to know

20 Self-generated versus imposed information seeking Imposed = constrained Limited number of acceptable resource types can be used Deadline/due date Need to develop an interest if it isnt naturally there (if you can) Self-generated = open A wealth of resource types available (but fewer sources tend to be used) You decide when you are done Motivated by genuine interest even if that interest is casual

21 Use of others in information seeking All but one respondent said they sought help from others All but three said others sought help from them Help took three forms –Informants (when you want the answer) –Agents (When you want someone to find the answer for you) –Instructors (When you want to be taught something)

22 Perceptions of attaining information literacy How they know what they know –Most see themselves as self taught –Many credit a parent (mostly mom) –Formal training, if it occurs tends to take place in elementary school New skills are best learned –As they are needed –Face-to-face, one-on-one –Comfortable environment –Chance to practice

23 Self-views of information literacy Confident about their ability, but dont feel that they know/do anything special Most recognize that ability varies among their cohort at school They see computer skills and information seeking as activities they have been engaged in over the course of their life and have adapted to naturally

24 Implications… Previous academic success is a fairly good predictor of performance on the ILT among this group of respondents. –However, 45% of our study group scored as either low proficient (below 80%) or non- proficient (below 65%). –Excellent students are not necessarily highly proficient in IL.

25 Implications (cont.)… Students are unlikely to receive (or at least to remember receiving) IL instruction beyond elementary school. –What can be done to insure that IL skill development is incorporated throughout all school levels? And across the curriculum? Students like learning IL skills on their own and with their peers. –How can we design instruction that incorporates both individual, self-paced, and collaborative learning?

26 Implications (cont.)… Students claim to know that the web contains not totally reliable resources (not good enough for serious school assignments). But they are likely to use the web for their own information seeking, even in important matters like choosing a college, planning a trip, or making a decision about a purchase. –How can we exploit the natural motivation that comes from self- generated information seeking and connect that to the exploration of databases and other resources beyond the web?

27 Implications (cont.)… The term information literacy is unlikely to resonate with students. So how can we talk about IL? –Most do recognize the basic skills that we call IL. Is that a place to start? Many assume that everyone their age has these skills. –Can this be leveraged toward building motivation into IL instruction? Students recognize the importance of technical skills, but they dont necessarily prefer technology-mediated instruction (such as web modules, podcasts, etc.). –What does this mean for distance ed and virtual help?

28 Future Research Identifying the non-proficient Developing a model of the user view of information literacy Moving from understanding to intervening and establishing a minimum skill level for non-proficient students

29 References Bruce, C. (1997). The seven faces of information literacy. Australia: Auslib Press Pty Ltd. Gross, M. (2005). The impact of low-level skills on information seeking behavior: Implications of competency theory for research and practice. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 45, 54-62. Gross, M. & Latham, D. (2007). Attaining information literacy: An investigation of the relationship between skill level, self-estimates of skill, and library anxiety. Library and Information Science Research, 29, 332- 353. James Madison University. (n.d.). The Information Literacy Test. Retrieved December 12, 2005 from Kruger, J. & Dunning, D. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: How difficulties in recognizing ones own incompetence lead to inflated self- assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134. Wise, S.L., Cameron, L., Yang, S., & Davis, S. (n.d.). Information literacy test. Test development and administration manual. James Madison University.

30 Thank you. Melissa Gross Don Latham

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