Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Research about Student Research Habits

Project Information Literacy's latest research report just released. Here's what the authors Mike Eisenberg & Alison Head say about it:

"In "Lessons Learned: How College Students Find Information in the Digital Age," we present findings from our student survey, administered last spring to students (n=2,318) enrolled at six U.S. college campuses (42 pages, PDF, 3 MB).
We were struck by what we found. We hope that our findings will help inform educators, such as yourself, about today's college students and how they look for information and conduct research for course-related work and in their everyday lives."

The project web site also includes videos with student commentary on their research process.


What to do about this perennial and pesky problem? Some have wondered if is the solution. At Seattle Central, we don't have plans to subscribe to a service like turnitin, but we can offer ideas and suggestions for dealing with the problem. A handful of our counterparts at other colleges have offered it, but they find it expensive and limited in its effectiveness. We'd rather find creative ways of teaching students to do the right thing and spend our precious resources on access to content, such as databases and books.

Assignments can be designed to minimize plagiarism, and it may be helpful to assign a short reading or tutorial that addresses the issue, or even schedule a workshop with a librarian on on plagiarism. There are a plethora a of good resources you could direct students to review. Some instructors even require students to complete a tutorial like the ones listed below:

IRIS, an information literacy tutorial which includes a section on plagiarism (includes an in depth quiz)
Rutgers Plagiarism Tutorial
Entertaining but to the point (with a short fun quiz at the end)
You Quote It, You Note It Interactive tutorial with lots of examples