Monday, April 10, 2017

Information needs and behaviours of PGR students #lilac17

Another report from Pam McKinney @ischoolPam at the LILAC conference: Pam writes:
"Helen Young from Loughborough university library and Laura Montgomery from Taylor and Francis presented on the information needs and behaviours of PGR students. There is a literature review published in the New Review of Academic Librarianship (Spezi, 2016). Taylor and Francis wanted to understand how PGRs were using their resources. This was a small pilot study with the aim of improving support for PGR students. The research team collected data from a short survey, identified 10 core participants who completed research diaries over an 8 month period and took part in a focus group. The participants were sent prompt questions each month to help guide their entries. The delegates had the opportunity to vote using on the top 3 resources used by PGR students - google scholar was the top result which matched the responses from participants.
"However, participants were not using subject specific resources, they were going for a "good enough" search on google scholar. Participants used trusted sources and would keep going back to them. The researchers created process maps based on the diary entries of how students went about their search activities. There was a lack of awareness of services offered by librarians, and while there was no standard research workflow, the common aim was instant full text. Students mostly accessed resources from a desktop or laptop computer, very few used a mobile device.
"There was a variety of practice around managing information, but Mendeley was the reference management software of choice. Delegates thought that twitter would be the tool most used by PGRs to keep up to date, but actually participants reported that journal alerts were the most used source. Facebook was more heavily used than twitter for this purpose. Students reported finding it very difficult to keep up to date with their research area."
Spezi, V. (2016). Is information-seeking behaviour of doctoral students changing? A review of the literature 2010-2015. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 2(1), 78-106. Open access version at
Photo by Sheila Webber: lilac, April 2017 (photoshop filter)

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