AbstractsComputer Science

A Descriptive Phenomenological Investigation of the Academic Information Search Process Experience of Remedial Undergraduate Students

by Shelley Blundell

Institution: Kent State University
Department: College of Communication and Information / School of Library and Information Science
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: Education; Higher Education; Instructional Design; Library Science; Teacher Education; Curriculum Development; Educational Evaluation; Educational Tests and Measurements; Information Science; Teaching; Remedial undergraduate students, information literacy instruction, academic information-seeking, descriptive phenomenology
Record ID: 2059738
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1429452955


This dissertation discusses the qualitative study which explored the academic information search process (AISP) experience of a group of undergraduate students enrolled in a remedial English course at a four-year, state university in Ohio, USA. The researcher used descriptive phenomenological methods to ascertain how participants explained and described their AISP experience, conducted to fulfill the requirements for the course-assigned research paper. Library and information science research bears out that an efficient AISP is connected to the possession of strong information literacy skills, and further, that strong information literacy skills are `intertwined’ with learning and academic progress in general. Because remedial undergraduate students are an academically at-risk population and have much lower graduation rates than their college-ready peers, this researcher wanted to create a research foundation for further investigation into this greatly understudied area in library and information science, toward finding practical ways to address remedial undergraduate students’ hampered academic progress through targeted, needs-based information literacy instruction.Primary findings from the study included the discovery of a pervasive sense of academic hopelessness in participants; the impact that seeking support services’ assistance had on participants’ AISP experience, particularly when their assistance failed participants; and the influence that `ecological’ factors (such as general perspectives on course instruction, feelings and emotions related to the study’s course, and previous college experiences) had on participants’ AISP experience.This study has implications for remedial educators and library and information science practitioners, and for targeted information literacy (IL) instruction. Specifically, this researcher recommends that collaborative IL instruction created through partnerships between remedial educators and academic librarians might be one way to help students overcome their sense of `academic hopelessness’ when conducting AISPs. Additionally, this researcher suggested that instructors consider using multi-modal learning objects within IL instruction and that remedial undergraduates be allowed to autonomously guide their own IL learning process. This researcher plans to engage in broader, quantitative study with similar student populations in the future to gain a deeper understanding of their information needs and behaviors, and ultimately create IL instruction which aids these students improve academically and persist toward graduation.