Monday, October 19, 2015

Information Needs of Doctoral Students in Psychology #ecil2015

Zuza Wiorogórska delivered a paper on Field-Specific Information Needs of Doctoral Students in Psychology. A Comparative Study, and I am liveblogging this from the European Conference on Information Literacy 2015.
The inspiration for this was work on her PhD research. Her sites were Lille and Warsaw, and participants were PhD students in psychology. She aimed to investigate their information behaviour (IB) and discover their information needs, so library services could be improved. She used three concepts: Information Literacy, IB and methodological literacy. Firstly there was an online survey, and then a semi-structured interview. 5 students from each country agreed to be interviewed (from 12 answering the questionnaire in Poland and 9 in France): she is treating this as a pilot.
In both countries keywords, names and previous references were starting points for search. Students weren't using journal publisher alerts. Students searched in Google, Google Scholar, Science Direct and some other databases, e-journals, and networking websites such as Polish students complained about embargos on papers and the cost of purchasing articles (which they couldn't afford). The students mostly searched for articles and were selective on what they printed out (e.g. just things for indepth reading). Most of the students downloaded papers and stored them on their computers, also using tools like dropbox, external data stick etc. and some were attempting to categorise them.
The respondents found information sharing important e.g. with peers, supervisor: this was part of being in a community of practice in which students would share ideas with colleagues and learn to network.
There was little use/awareness of bibliographic management software: from that point of view the research itself helped to raise awareness of what was available and could be used.
In terms of social media, French students used Twitter more, and Polish students were more likely to use Facebook. They also looked at academic blogs. In terms of open access, although they saw this as a good ideal, their focus was on publishing in high impact journals (and teh students could not afford to pay to be published).
The results were generally very similar in the two countries, and the respondents felt there was a need to a "structured specialized instruction" for doctoral candidates. The speaker felt that it would be worthwhile to foster a learning community ofPhD students.
The next step is doing a study in the USA, to compare with Polish/French students.

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