Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Project Information Literacy - The Freshmen Studies

Project Information Literacy (PIL) recently put out a report titled Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter College. This forty-eight (48) page report:

... [P]resents findings about the challenges today’s college freshmen face, and the information-seeking strategies they develop, use, and adapt as they make the transition from high school to college and begin to complete college-level research assignments... Findings indicate a majority of freshmen find it difficult to effectively search academic library portals. To a lesser extent, they struggle with reading and comprehending scholarly materials once they are able to find them and have trouble figuring out faculty expectations for course research assignments. Taken together, our findings suggest the Google-centric search skills that freshmen bring from high school only get them so far with finding and using trusted sources they need for fulfilling college research assignments. Moreover, many freshmen appeared to be unfamiliar with how academic libraries—and the vast array of digital resources they provide—can best meet their needs. Included are recommendations for how campus-wide stakeholders—librarians, faculty, and administrators—can work together when instructing freshmen to be better researchers.

-- from the Abstract to the report

The findings are not particularly surprising, but the specific recommendations made at the end of this PIL report are something to consider:
  1. Build bridges between high school and college libraries - This can have ramifications for Education Departments that teach future teachers (my note).
  2. An integrated approach to teaching information competencies - Embedded Librarianship (aka Embedded Instruction). Faculty and Librarians work in strategic partnerships as students work on specific research assignments.
  3. Faculty and apprenticing and the research process - Faculty rethink the way research papers are packaged and assigned while Freshmen apprentice the research process.
  4. Resetting expectations of the Google generation - Knowing how to search Google does not mean that students are skilled at developing research strategies for college level assignments. Don't assume that students know how to "dig and dig and dig until the assignment is completed." This is a problem that has been in existence a long time and is not particular to the Google generation.
The full report can be found here http://projectinfolit.org/pdfs/PIL_2013_FreshmenStudy_FullReport.pdf

What is Project Information Literacy? Below is a brief and informative video:

Check the Project Information Literacy Playlist on the HIULibrary YouTube Channel for more!

Terri Bogan is Reference & Instruction Librarian at Hope International University. She is passionate about helping students navigate the ever expanding world of information. She specializes in the area of information literacy and instructional design.

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