Carnegie Mellon University
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Scholarly Use of Information: Graduate Students' Information Seeking Behaviour

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journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Carole A. George, A. Bright, T Hurlbert, E C Linke, G St. Clair
Introduction. This study explored graduate students' information behaviour related to their process of inquiry and scholarly activities. Method. In depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with one hundred graduate students representing all disciplines and departments from Carnegie Mellon University. Analysis. Working in pairs, we coded transcripts of interviews into meaningful categories using ATLAS.ti software. The combined use of quantitative and qualitative analysis aimed to reduce subjectivity. Results. Graduate students often begin with a meeting with professors who provide direction, recommend and provide resources. Other students help to shape graduate students' research activities, and university library personnel provide guidance in finding resources. The Internet plays a major role, although students continue to use print resources. Convenience, lack of sophistication in finding and using resources and course requirements affect their information behaviour. Findings vary across disciplines and between programmes. Conclusion. Libraries can influence students' information behaviour by re-evaluating their instructional programmes and provision of resources and services. They can take a lead by working with academic staff to guide students.


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