The presenters will discuss the results of a two-year study, funded by Google, that examined undergraduate students' on-line research behaviors. The focus of the project was to examine search techniques that students ARE actually using--not what they tell us they are using. The investigators, as far as they know, were the first to use an unobtrusive web-based tracking tool, OpenHallway, which captures audio and video, in order to record students’ thought processes and on-line research strategies. Students were asked to do research on their own. The lack of the presence of a librarian and the unobtrusiveness of OpenHallway allowed the students to open up in a way they would not have in a controlled environment. Initial analysis has indicated that many of the students’ search patterns fall into one or more of five specific categories, which we will discuss as we demonstrate examples. The demonstration will challenge the audience's perception of how students actually do research.
We will include the audience in rigorous discussion and analysis of the presented evidence. We will ask attendees to provide examples of their own experiences with student research behaviors, discuss them, and compare ways to help students better understand the art and complexities of on-line research.
The objective of the session will be to encourage the audience to re-evaluate library instruction and web design. The audience will:
• learn how to identify specific kinds of on-line research behaviors
• look more critically at library web-page design
• incorporate existing student research patterns into current library instruction.