A new study out of the University of Washington School of Information finds that 84% of students don’t know where to go to start researching a topic. In a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education notes that students report being overwhelmed with research and tend to search for a specific answer rather than exploring multiple points of view on a particular topic. They tend to bring high school techniques to college work. The survey, which asked 8,353 students at 25 campuses across the country about their research habits and skills found that students also had difficulty narrowing a topic or filtering information. Most did evaluate web content in some fashion, particularly reviewing it for currency.
Instructors and librarians played critical roles in helping students develop their search strategies and finding appropriate sources.