Differences in Discovery: How Seach Tools Affect Undergraduate Research

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Andrew Asher, Scholarly Communications Fellow, Bucknell University

This poster presents the results of a study comparing the relative effectiveness of web-scale discovery tools, Google Scholar, and library databases. Using qualitative and quantitative measures of search efficacy, this study examined the information-seeking behaviors of undergraduates at two universities on four research questions. Based on this analysis, this poster argues that differences in search tool design have a determinative effect on the information students find and utilize and directly influence student’s educational outcomes.

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Differences in Discovery: How Seach Tools Affect Undergraduate Research

  1. 1. Differences
in
Discovery:

 How
Search
Tools
Affect
Undergraduate
Research
 Andrew
D.
Asher
 Lynda
M.
Duke
 Susanne
Wilson
 Bucknell
University
 Illinois
Wesleyan
University
 Illinois
Wesleyan
University
 Mean Scores Library EBSCO Google Summon Catalog/ No Tool Discovery Scholar Databases All 2.54 1.92 1.80 2.06 2.05 Questions Question 1 2.46 2.29 1.19 2.13 1.96 Question 2 2.20 1.15 1.49 1.94 1.73 Question 3 2.83 2.01 2.33 2.05 2.15 Question 2.70 2.19 2.09 2.02 2.33 Quantitative Benchmarks Google Scholar Library Catalog/Databases No tool specified Summon EDS Bucknell IWU Overall Bucknell IWU Overall Bucknell IWU Overall Bucknell IWU Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Mean Total Page Views 33.4 29.7 31.9 37.6 38.1 37.9 42.8 51.3 46.4 43.5 20.6 Total number of 9.3 8.23 8.9 11.1 12.5 12.0 13.0 15.8 14.2 9.4 7.4 Searches Total Time to complete search 987 942 968 885 1020 963 971 1232 1081 1209 747 tasks (in seconds) Type of Search Simple Advanced Boolean Resource Types Google Scholar 94.5% 4.2% 1.4% Google Library Catalog/ Summon EDS No Tool Summon 79.3% 12.6% 8.1% Scholar Databases EDS 75.4% 23.1% 1.5% Academic Journal Articles 55.0% 65.0% 73.8% 49.2% 50.3% Books 26.5% 13.4% 12.5% 41.3% 15.4% Library Catalog/ 77.2% 19.1% 3.7% Newspapers/Magazines/ Databases 2.0% 20.6% 6.3% 3.2% 2.7% Trade Journals No Tool 81.1% 16.3% 2.5% For-Pay Articles 13.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.3% Websites (including Total, All Groups 81.5% 15.1% 3.4% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 21.5% Wikipedia) Government & Legal 2.7% 0.0% 5.0% 2.1% 2.0% Document Other Documents 0.0% 1.0% 2.5% 4.2% 6.7% First-page Sources Percent of sources found on first page Google Scholar 83% Summon 96% EDS 94%Library Catalog/Databases No Tool Specified 94% 94% Search
Epistemology
 De
facto
outsourcing
of
evalua7on
 process
to
the
search
algorithm
itself.
 Brand
Bias
 Default
Bias
 Trust
Bias


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