Deep Critical Information Behaviour
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Deep Critical Information Behaviour

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This presentation was given by Professor Nigel Ford (Nigl Forder in Second Life) and Sheila Webber (Sheila Yoshikawa in SL) on 13 June 2011 in the virtual world, Second Life, on Sheffield......

This presentation was given by Professor Nigel Ford (Nigl Forder in Second Life) and Sheila Webber (Sheila Yoshikawa in SL) on 13 June 2011 in the virtual world, Second Life, on Sheffield University's island, Infolit iSchool. The project blog is at

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  • 1. Deep critical information behaviour Nigl Forder / Nigel Ford and Sheila Yoshikawa / WebberWith acknowledgement toMary Crowder and Andrew Madden Presented at the Sheffield University iSchool launch event on 13 June 2011
  • 2. Project: Deep critical information behaviour• Funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council• 2010-2012• Ford is Principal Investigator (PI); The rest of the team: Sheila Webber & two full time researchers: Mary Crowder and Dr Andrew Madden• Draws on previous AHRC-funded projects in which Ford was PI: – Education for evidence-based citizenship: improving pupils’ information seeking skills (see Madden et al. 2005, 2007) – Metacognition in Web Searching (See Ford et al., 2009 & Gorrell et al., 2009)
  • 3. “The research aims to understand more fully how young people go about searching for, evaluating, selecting and using information, in relation to their academic work. We are particularly interested in discovering the extent to which, and how, we might help young people in schools and universities to maximise the effectiveness of their information seeking and information use.”
  • 4. Surface and deep• Approaches to learning discovered through phenomenographic investigation (Marton and Saljo, 1984) – Deep: Looking for meaning, focus on learning, looking for patterns and evidence – Surface: just coping with the task, aim to get good marks• Evidence of students taking surface approach to information seeking• Need to probe this aspect more directly, e.g. in terms of motivation
  • 5. Research questions1. What is the nature, extent and pattern of occurrence of relatively deep and surface information behaviours amongst young people at pre-university and undergraduate levels?2. What is the pattern of development of information behaviour from relatively surface to deeper levels of information behaviour entailing critical engagement and reflection?3. What are the effects of surface information behaviour, as perceived by young people and those who teach them?4. How can the adoption of surface and deep information behaviours be explained (as opposed to just described)?5. In what broader context (curricular/pedagogical/informational) does surface information behaviour occur?6. To what extent and how, in the view of key stakeholders, can the development of deep information behaviour be enabled and fostered?
  • 6. Methods• Qualitative (Interpretive): – focus groups and interviews with: Undergraduate students; Schoolchildren; Teachers; School librarians (interest in transition school/uni) – Focus on students educated in UK – Developing model(s) to illuminate behaviour and motivations• Quantitative: – Questions included in the Local Education Authoritys Every Child Matters (ECM) survey, which goes to around half the secondary school children in Sheffield in 2011 – Our own questionnaire to those outside Sheffield.
  • 7. Emerging findings• In some cases, differing approaches when searching for school/academic work (more surface) and when pursuing subjects of personal interest (deeper & more persistent)• Extent to which students are strategic & gear their information behaviour to the task in hand – Task set by teacher may encourage copying – If no reward for deeper approach, strategic approach is understandable! Note that we are in the early stages of data collection!
  • 8. Nigel blog: follow this to monitor new developments!
  • 9. References• Ford, N., Eaglestone, B. Madden, A and Whittle, M. (2009) "Web searching by the “general public”: an individual differences perspective", Journal of Documentation, 65(4), 632 – 667.• Gorrell, G., Eaglestone, B., Ford, N., Holdridge, P. and Madden, A. (2009) "Towards “metacognitively aware” IR systems: an initial user study”, Journal of Documentation, 65(3), 446-469.• Madden, A., Ford, N., Miller, D. and Levy, P. (2005) "Using the Internet in teaching: the views of practitioners (A survey of the views of secondary school teachers in Sheffield, UK." British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 255–280.• Madden, A., Ford, N., and Miller, D. (2007) "Information resources used by children at an English secondary school Perceived and actual levels of usefulness", Journal of Documentation, 63(3), 340-358• Marton, F. and Saljo, R. (1984). “Approaches to learning”, in: Marton, F., Hounsell, D. and Entwistle, N. (Eds.), The Experience of Learning. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. pp. 36-55.