Survey Examines Education World on Student Web Search Skills


Researchers working on the online bibliography formatting tool EasyBib published a two-year study on Information Literacy in Students. They examined the views of librarians and students and presented the data in their infographic “Information Literacy Trends: A Comparative View”.

The study shows that librarians have little confidence in the proficiency level of students when it comes to both paraphrasing correctly and identifying credible web sources in research versus student ratings of them- same.

When it comes to having an advanced understanding of these practices, librarians believed that 2% of students were qualified to assess the credibility of a website, with 3% feeling that students could paraphrase correctly.

EasyBib Librarian and Professional Development Coordinator Emily Gover finds the statistic of students’ understanding of the website’s credibility “visibly alarming” as it has declined over the past two years. She attributes having a much larger and more diverse sample size in their 2014 survey as a factor that skews the results. She also noted that “the use of mobile technology for personal use has also increased dramatically” over the past two years, adding that “it is not uncommon for students to have multiple devices connected to the Internet. “.

“People often take at face value what they see in their news feeds (even articles from The Onion!). Students don’t think critically about the information they encounter throughout the day, and this data shows that mindset doesn’t change when it comes to homework, ”said Gover.

“For the record, I have too often heard of librarians excluded from schools, or of a librarian managing a district of thousands of students – teaching these refined but crucial analytical skills is an almost impossible task given the many responsibilities. that school librarians must assume. everyday.”

EasyBib collected results in 2012 and again in 2014 to understand library, research and media programs regarding understanding in terms of website credibility, plagiarism detection, etc. The voluntary surveys covered elementary, middle and secondary school librarians and media specialists in addition to other related positions in and beyond Kindergarten to Grade 12.

About 60% of librarians and media specialists surveyed see students choosing to use Internet resources rather than what they can find in their library, such as academic journals and newspaper databases. Student responses match. In 2014, 58.7% of students also said that Google and other search engines was their favorite or exclusive search tool.

Gover pointed out that Google dominates the search landscape.

“Google has become this somewhat ubiquitous entity in our lives. It is a verb; it is the gateway to the Internet for most people; it’s amazing how much we rely on him to find information. I don’t think there will be a day when students won’t use Google to some extent for their research, even at the university level, ”Gover said.

“Project Information Literacy reported a few years ago that 90% of students use Google in classroom contexts. The reality is that this is a tool that they are going to use, and given their level of ease in using it, teachers and librarians should find ways to demonstrate how it can be adapted to improve. search results (for example, using Boolean operators, search, or Google Scholar). Of course, it is imperative that students acquire other essential research skills, but we need to make sure that they know how to best use the tool that we know they rely on.

The students, most of whom were from high school, showed that 36.1% thought they had a deep understanding of website rating, while 14.2% admitted their knowledge was limited or non-existent.

Librarians and media specialists often help students develop skills for careers in journalism, politics, the arts, historical studies, filmmaking, and law. Gover suggested ways to better integrate them into student learning.

“Librarians are essential in all subjects, and co-teaching with teachers and other specialists throughout a unit is a simple way to expand their role in the learning experience. Allowing children to see that library skills are integrated into all aspects of their school curriculum, as well as the types of resources available to them in the library, is extremely beneficial, ”said Gover.

“Teachers can team up with the school librarian on research work to not only improve students’ research skills, but also compile valuable resources that students can use in their work, potentially reducing the likelihood to use Google. “

See the infographic Trends in Information Literacy: A Comparative View here.

Article by Jason Papallo, Education Social Media Editor
World of Education®
Copyright © 2015 World of Education


Paul N. Strickland

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