Integrating Information Behavior and Information Literacy: A Comparative Study of Japanese and Canadian Undergraduate Students in a Canadian University
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Integrating information behavior and information literacy:
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Version 1 in red is the pre-
A comparative study of Japanese and Canadian undergraduate students in a Canadian university
ferred version and should
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Yusuke Ishimura (Ph.D. candidate) / Joan C. Bartlett (Assistant Professor)
places where it is believed that
the word “University” is neces-
sary for recognition.
School of Information Studies, McGill University
Abstract Approach to the Problems Methodology
Other symbols of the Using the Signature,
University Coat of Arms, or Shield
Over time, a number of symbols, It is important that the full
logos, or marks have been used University signature (the shield
to identify McGill University. plus the wordmark) appear on
The coat of arms, shield, and the front cover of brochures, fly-
signature illustrated above are ers, folders, newsletters, and
This poster session introduces doctoral research that investigates how Japanese students, as a sample of In order to investigate students’ research process, this study combines information behavior models and information literacy. Although the major elements Approximately 20 Japanese and Canadian undergraduates in the Faculty of Arts at McGill University will be
the only versions sanctioned for
current use. Consult the
other printed materials produced
by the University for dissemina-
international students, and Canadian students in a Canadian university conduct research for their academic of each concept are similar to each other, the nature of the activity is different. Some information behavior models6 consider each process (i.e., information participants in this study. Students will be recruited from 300 and 400 level courses that have research
Secretary-General for permis-
sion to use any other graphic
tion outside the University.
In instances where a document
needs, seeking, and use) as dynamic and interdependent, but do not address of quality of the process. On the other hand, information literacy is concerned assignments. Japanese students are deﬁned as students whose mother tongue is Japanese, graduated from
identity. Final approval rests is for internal use only, or is
tasks. The presence of international students has greatly increased in recent decades in North American with the Board of Governors. clearly associated with McGill,
with the “quality” of each behavior in relation to its desired outcomes7. However, in the information literacy approach, each step is considered as Japanese high schools, and have been in Canada for less than ﬁve years. Canadian students are born and
the coat of arms or shield alone
universities. Thus, it is important for institutions to improve students’ university experience to facilitate their may provide sufficient identifi-
independent rather than interrelated. This does not answer the question of how the entire process determines the quality of students’ output. Thus, educated in Canada, and their mother tongue is English. Participants will select one research assignment to
academic success. Among various potential solutions, improvement of information literacy skills is especially be examined during the study. Their information behavior and information literacy skills will be investigated
combining information behavior models and information literacy theories will complement existing research and reveal a more complete picture of 6
important in today’s information intense environment. However, academic libraries struggle to answer the from the beginning to the completion of their research tasks using: 1) research portfolios, 2) semi-structured
students’ information literacy.
question of how they can provide support for international students with diverse backgrounds and needs. in-depth interviews, and 3) ﬂowcharts.
Before planning strategies to improve their skills, it is critical for academic institutions to understand how
students conduct research and to what extent they are information literate. Using multiple qualitative Research portfolios will be used to capture information behavior and levels of students’ information
Recognizing when information is needed literacy skills. This approach is effective for investigating students’ higher-order skills (e.g., analysis, synthesis,
methodologies, Japanese and Canadian undergraduate students’ information behavior will be investigated and Information needs
assessed using information behavior models (how students behave) and information literacy standards (how and evaluation), work process and strategies toward the goal, and reﬂection on their performance during the
(Recognizing information needs)
well the behavior is conducted). tasks.10
Locating the needed information In-depth semi-structured interviews will be used to examine how context affects students’
Information seeking information behavior. Three individual phenomenological interviews will examine students’ reﬂections on
(Searching information to meet the needs) their past and present experiences and the context of their actions.11
Problems Participants will draw ﬂowcharts as a method of data collection. By mapping and diagramming their
Information use Evaluating using the needed information process, the researcher will be able to visualize the research steps and decision-making points. This will be
(Using information obtained) effectively carried out during the second interview session.12
Process Oriented Merging Quality Oriented Data collected from the students’ research portfolios, interviews, and ﬂowcharts will be consolidated and
analyzed using content analysis13 and constant comparative methods14. The data from each student will be
The number of international students in
60,000 analyzed and their information literacy skills will be assessed according to information literacy standards. The
Canada has increased in the last decade.
results of each student’s behavior will be compared to ﬁnd commonalities and differences among them.
Although students from the US and 40,000
Europe have increased, the population 30,885
growth of non-American and non- 20,000
European students (e.g., China, India,
South Korea) is signiﬁcant1. 0
2004 RESEARCH QUESTIONS Anticipated Results
It is expected that this research will provide a holistic picture of individual students’ processes during their
What are Japanese students’ information behaviors during their research research tasks. The process will be matched with and assessed by information literacy standards. This will
tasks as compared to North American students? generate knowledge of how students perform their research and what information literacy skills they
possess or lack. An understanding of which elements affect their behavior will add another layer to better
Over the last 20 years, many researchers
have investigated relationships between • What factors (e.g., personal, social, and linguistic) are involved in information behavior understand why their behaviors are information literate or not. Comparisons between Canadian and
Japanese students will highlight evidence of differences and similarities in behaviors, which have not been
international students and library skills • Diverse needs
(including information literacy skills) in
during the research task? deﬁned in previous research.
• Diverse experience
North American libraries. However,
academic libraries struggle to determine
• Diverse expectations2 • What are their actual behaviors in relation to information literacy standards?
how they can provide better services to
international students who have:
• What differences and similarities in behavior exist between the two groups of students? Signiﬁcance
International students have diverse needs, experiences, and expectations. Thus, it is necessary to investigate
one speciﬁc international student group as an initial, but important step. Later, this study could expand to
Conceptual other groups using the replication approach. Thus, this will offer a fundamental framework for future
• Identiﬁed students’ barriers to
in North America
research to understand the larger population of international students. This research is unique in bridging
Framework boundaries between the concepts of information behavior (more closely associated with the scholarly
information literacy due to cultural
Academic libraries, as research centers, community) and information literacy (more closely associated with the practitioner community). In doing so,
and linguistic differences3
need to satisfy students’ unique needs how and why students behave in certain ways and to what extent students have information literacy skills
and provide them with assistance in • Focused on librarians’ opinions, will be investigated. Through comparison of these two students groups, academic libraries will be able to
developing the information literacy skills perceptions, and experience4 better understand and meet international students’ needs and facilitate their intellectual contributions to
needed for their academic success.
• Often based on students’ self- Information behavior model Canadian academic institutions.
assessment of information literacy (Process oriented)
Information Information Information
Context Personal 1 StatisticsCanada, "University Enrolments for International Students, by Institution, and by Country of Citizenship, Annual (Number),
needs seeking use 1995/1996 to 2004/2005," Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS).
Potential Psychological 2 Society of College, National and University Libraries, "Library Services for International Students," http://www.sconul.ac.uk/groups/access/
effects Social 3 Kwasi Sarkodie-Mensah, "International Students in the U.S.: Trends, Cultural Adjustments, and Solutions for a Better Experience," Journal of
Education for Library and Information Science 39, no. 3 (1998): 214-22.
Corresponds with Cultural 4 Ann Curry and Deborah Copeman, "Reference Service to International Students: A Field Stimulation Research Study." Journal of Academic
Before planning strategies to Linguistic
Librarianship 31, no. 5 (2005): 409-20.
5 Yusuke Ishimura, Vivian Howard, and Haidar Moukdad, "Information Literacy in Academic Libraries: Assessment of Japanese Students'
Needs for Successful Assignment Completion in Two Halifax Universities," Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science 31, no. 1
improve skills, it is necessary Educational (2008): 1-26.
6 Tom D. Wilson, "Models in Information Behaviour Research," Journal of Documentation 55, no. 3 (1999): 249-70.
to understand how students
7 Association of College and Research Libraries. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (Chicago: Author, 2000).
8 WIlson, "Models in Information Behaviour Research," 249-70.
9 American Library Association, "Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report," http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlpubs/
conduct research & to what Outcomes Outcomes Outcomes whitepapers/presidential.cfm.
10 John Salvia, James E. Ysseldyke, and Sara Bolt, Assessment in Special and Inclusive Education, 10th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifﬂin, 2007).
11 Irving Seidman, Interviewing as Qualitative Research: A Guide for Researchers in Education and the Social Sciences, 3rd ed. (New York: Teachers
extent they are information Information literacy standards
College Press, 2006).
12 Carol C. Kuhlthau, Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services. 2nd ed, (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 2004).
13 Jane Ritchie and Liza Spencer, “Qualitative Data Analysis for Applied Policy Research," in The Qualitative Researcher's Companion, eds. A.
literate (Quality oriented) Michael Huberman and Matthew B. Miles (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002), 305-29.
14 Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. (Chicago: Aldine,1967).