Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On the other side of the reference desk: Exploring undergraduates' information search mediation experiences through the acrl framework
by Clark, Sarah, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 2016, 231; 10189014
Abstract (Summary)

Information seeking, a key aspect of information literacy, is relevant to student academic success as well as to leadership, organizational and public policy issues within higher education. Although librarians contend that students should consult formal mediators for help during an information search, students are much more likely to prefer consulting what are defined in the literature as informal mediators. This contradiction suggests the current literature of information seeking may not fully depict the aspects of search mediation that are actually the most important to student information seekers.

Purpose and Questions: The purpose of my study was to explore lower-division undergraduates’ thoughts, feelings, and actions as they engage in and reflect on their information search mediation encounters over the course of an information search process. My study was guided by two central questions: 1. What are the characteristics of information search mediation encounters as experienced by lower-division undergraduate students? 2. How do students use search mediation encounters to navigate the information search process?

Methods and Theory: To explore these questions, I employed Stake's (2006) multiple case study methodology. Each student's assignment-related experiences of information search mediation and information seeking were considered a case for the purposes of this study. After analyzing individual cases in isolation for key findings, I considered them as a set to identify cross-case assertions that describe the essence of the topic under investigation. I then examined and discussed the cross-case through the lens of the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, the primary theoretical framework for the study.

Findings: Six cross-case findings emerged from the data. These findings describe aspects of mediator selection, the mediation encounter, the role of information search mediation in the information search process, the influence of lessons learned via mediation on the final research assignment, and the ways that mediation encounters influenced later information searches, as well as search mediation as a whole. These provocative findings both support and problematize the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy, and have important implications for information literacy theory, research, and practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kearney, Kerri
Commitee: Bailey, Lucy, Finchum, Tanya, Moore, Tami L.
School: Oklahoma State University
Department: Education Leadership and Policy
School Location: United States -- Oklahoma
Source: DAI-A 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Library science, Higher Education Administration, Higher education
Keywords: ACRL framework, Critical information literacy, Information literacy, Information search mediation, Information seeking, Undergraduates
Publication Number: 10189014
ISBN: 978-1-369-36122-3
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