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Google has changed the way students research – and not for the better

By Sunanda Creagh

A US study found that students use research databases like they use Google — which limits the results they turn up.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Many university students use scholarly databases like they would Google, revealing an astonishingly poor understanding of how to refine searches for better research results, a US study has found.

The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project, a two-year study of the student research process involving five US universities, included extensive interviews with students, librarians and other academics in an effort to better understand 21st Century student research habits.

The study, to be published by the American Library Association under the title Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know, revealed worryingly crude research skills among the students surveyed. Many were unwilling to ask university librarians for help — or even knew that they could ask.

“While students used the libraries at all five universities pretty extensively, librarians were absent from most students’ academic worldview. Students typically didn’t know what librarians did, or how they might help with academic work,” said Dr Andrew D. Asher, Scholarly Communications Fellow at Bucknell University and one of the authors of the study.

However, students who were introduced to their librarian by a faculty member were much more...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.