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Mapping the development of critical information behaviour through school and university


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Paper presented at the 2017 i3 (information interactions and impact) conference in Aberdeen, Scotland, on June 28 2017. The authors are Sheila Webber, Professor Nigel Ford, Mary Crowder (University of Sheffield Information School, UK) and Dr Andrew Madden (Sun Yat-Sen University, China).

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Mapping the development of critical information behaviour through school and university

  1. 1. Mapping the development of critical information behaviour through school and university Sheila Webber Andrew Madden* Nigel Ford Mary Crowder i3, RGU, Aberdeen, June 2017 Photo of Mountbatten cat: Peter Reid University of Sheffield iSchool *Sun Yat-Sen University
  2. 2. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2010-12 (15 months) Professor Nigel Ford - Principal Investigator Mary Crowder - Researcher Dr Andrew Madden - Researcher Sheffield University, Information School, Centre for Information Literacy Research Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  3. 3. Research Questions relevant to this presentation 1. How does critical information behaviour develop through school and university? 2. What are the main differences in the information behaviour of students at different points in their development through school and university – and particularly as they transition from school to university? Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  4. 4. Methods • Qualitative – 72 one-to-one interviews (teachers, librarians and university students) – 86 people in focus groups (the under-18s at schools, 6th form colleges/Further Education) • Quantitative. – Testing elements in a model of intrinsic/extrinsic motivation and effort (derived from Crowder & Pupynin,1993), mostly 5 point Likert scales – Minor differences in questionnaires for schools etc. and universities administered online and in print – Used SPSS for analysis; ANOVAs, correlation and regression analysis. The ANOVA analysis is presented here Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  5. 5. Samples: Questionnaires analysed School children • Female - 414 • Male - 286 • Total - 700 Key stage 3 (ages 12-14: 240); Key stage 4 (15-16: 119); Key stage 5 (16-18: 341) From 8 secondary schools and 3 sixth form colleges in South Yorkshire University students • Female - 405 • Male - 270 • Total - 675 From 4 universities in South Yorkshire and the Midlands Notes: original sample size was 802 school + 948 university students: data was cleaned by removing those educated previously outside the UK, and by stratified random deselection of female participants in order to control for the effect of gender, to enable comparison across study level Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  6. 6. Theoretical frameworks • Research into approaches to learning (e.g. Marton et al. 1984) • IB and Information Literacy (IL) research which focuses on motivation/ study approaches/ personal characteristics (e.g. Ford et al, 2003) • Model developed by Crowder & Pupynin (1993) into motivation for training • Ford (1986) deep critical information behaviour Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  7. 7. Example question (Based on subjects compulsory at KS3) Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  8. 8. Example question Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  9. 9. Findings Webber2017
  10. 10. Motivation • KS4 students were more motivated than KS5 students by wanting to avoid failure • KS5 students were more motivated by learning as much as they could, and pleasing other people than were undergraduates Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  11. 11. Independent information seeking • KS3 students perceived themselves more than did KS4 students to be required to engage in independent information seeking • KS5 students were more involved in independent information seeking than those in KS4 • Relative to KS5 students, undergraduate students (i.e. years 1 to 3 taken as a group) were required even more to engage in independent information seeking Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  12. 12. Trustworthiness • KS3 students put in more effort [than KS4 students] into finding information, ensuring that it was trustworthy, and understanding it before making use of it • Undergraduates felt more than KS5 students that finding information takes a lot of effort, but that it makes work more interesting • Undergraduates found it more satisfying to know that information was trustworthy, and felt less need than did KS5 students for teachers to give more guidance in relation to selecting acceptable sources Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  13. 13. Understanding • KS5 students felt more than did undergraduates that they could get good marks without really understanding the information being used • Relative to undergraduates, they wanted more teacher guidance than they were receiving in how to use information • Undergraduates thought (more than did KS5 students) that understanding information makes work more satisfying, and they put more effort into trying to understand information Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  14. 14. • Many teachers in school and college suggested that pressure to meet government targets has resulted in students being spoon-fed towards exams, with less emphasis on the development of skills to find and use information in support of their own learning • One sixth-form teacher said that when they teach outside the curriculum the students question why they are doing something that is not on the syllabus Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  15. 15. Strategic approach • “On-line? Well first thing I would do is like if I am doing physics and it’s AQA I will go straight onto AQA website and look at the syllabus for the subject I am doing then work on from that. “Right so do they have links out from there or? “No it’s just I need to know what that is, it’s just like basically explains what you need to know, and you can just like figure it out from that what you need to learn.” • Prefers the format that has the most explicit match with the task “It’s not always tailored to your exam board when you go on line but then when you get the book it’s exactly to your exam board. So it’s to exactly your specification. “Is that the most important thing when you are looking for information? “Yes. “ (6th form school student) Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  16. 16. Relevance • KS5 students found it more satisfying [than did KS4 students] when they could see how things were relevant, and from understanding the information they were using – into which they put a lot of effort • For undergraduates, deciding what was relevant took a lot of effort, and they were less confident of being able to do so, although establishing relevance was felt to make work more interesting • UG students struggled more to understand what is required for a good piece of work, and found it much less easy to keep up with all the work they had to do Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  17. 17. Wikipedia • K3 students made more use of Wikipedia in their work, rating it more highly as a good source of basic information, useful for understanding a new topic, and more reliable • KS5 students considered Wikipedia a good place to obtain basic information more than did KS4 students Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  18. 18. • Undergraduates reported more than KS5 students that teachers told them not to use Wikipedia in their work, and that they made less use of it • They also felt less that Wikipedia is a reliable source… … but more that it is a good place to obtain basic information… … and more that they made use of it when they wanted to learn about a new topic. Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  19. 19. Final thoughts Photo of Mountbatten cat: Peter Reid
  20. 20. • Issue worth probing more around KS4 (which is when students face first set of crucial examinations at secondary level) • KS4 felt they are doing less independent information seeking than KS3 or KS5, they put less effort into finding, evaluating and understanding information than did KS3, were more motivated by fear of failure than KS5 • Also interesting to probe possible changing attitudes of student + their teachers through different levels Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  21. 21. Sheila Webber Information School, University of Sheffield, UK Twitter: @sheilayoshikawa Dr Andrew Madden Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China Professor Nigel Ford Information School, University of Sheffield, UK Mary Crowder Minds at Work Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017
  22. 22. References • Crowder, M. and Pupynin, K. (1993) The motivation to train: a review of the literature and the development of a comprehensive model of training motivation. Minds at Work, for the Department of Employment. • Ford, N. (1986). Psychological determinants of information needs: a small-scale study of higher education students. Journal of librarianship and information science, 18(1), 47-62. • Ford, N., Miller, D and Moss, N. (2003). Web search strategies and approaches to studying. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, 54(6), 473-489. • Marton, F., Hounsell, D. and Entwistle, N. (Eds.) (1984) The Experience of learning: implications for teaching and studying in higher education. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. Webber,Ford,Madder,Crowder2017