A new report has been published in the Researchers of Tomorrow project that is sponsored by JISC and the British Library, aiming to examine the information behaviour of Generation Y (i.e. born between 1982 and 1994) researchers. The report is based on:
- A cohort of 47 Generation Y doctoral students in the second year of a longitudinal qualitative study;
- Responses to a national study carried out in 2010 with responses with over 2000 Generation Y doctoral students;
- Responses by over 2000 older doctoral students to the same survey.
The students are all studying at universities in the UK; the larger survey population includes international students, but the in-depth study of 47 students only includes people who were at school in the UK (i.e. teh vast majority will be British). I think it's rather a pity that there is this British-student focus, myself (most of my PhD students have not been, and international students are tremendously important to doctoral programmes).
An example finding is that "More of the Generation Y sample [than that of older students] had used at least one kind of open web or Web 2.0 technology (only 8% said they had used none at all). However, passive use of these technologies (i.e. reading wikis only but not creating content, following blogs but not blogging themselves) is much more common than active use. For example, 29% made passive use of internet discussion forums, while 13% made active use of them; 23% followed blogs but only 9% actively blogged themselves." They make lots of use of e-journals, gain a lot of information from supervisors, find training provided informally and in their Department most useful, and are not keen on sharing their research (unsuprisingly to me).
The home page for the project is http://explorationforchange.net/index.php/rot-home.html. There are also some videos on the JISC youtube site, and I've embedded the key one above.
Thanks to Richard Wakeford for alerting me to this material.