Improving Student Information Search

Improving Student Information Search

A Metacognitive Approach

1st Edition - October 10, 2014

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  • Authors: Barbara Blummer, Jeffrey M. Kenton
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843347811
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780634623

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Metacognition is a set of active mental processes that allows users to monitor, regulate, and direct their personal cognitive strategies. Improving Student Information Search traces the impact of a tutorial on education graduate students’ problem-solving in online research databases. The tutorial centres on idea tactics developed by Bates that represent metacognitive strategies designed to improve information search outcomes. The first half of the book explores the role of metacognition in problem-solving, especially for education graduate students. It also discusses the use of metacognitive scaffolds for improving students’ problem-solving. The second half of the book presents the mixed method study, including the development of the tutorial, its impact on seven graduate students’ search behaviour and outcomes, and suggestions for adapting the tutorial for other users.

Key Features

  • Provides metacognitive strategies to improve students’ information search outcomes
  • Incorporates tips to enhance database search skills in digital libraries
  • Includes seminal studies on information behaviour


Instruction librarians in higher education and high schools, education faculty members, reference librarians, special librarians and information science/studies researchers.

Table of Contents

    • List of figures and tables
      • Figures
      • Tables
    • Acknowledgments
    • About the authors
    • Summary of the study
    • 1: Overview of the study
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Background – metacognition in information search
      • Need
      • Problem solving, literacy in research databases, and tutorial-based library instruction
      • Research questions
    • 2: Information research and the search process
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Early research
      • Dervin’s methodology, theory, and framework
      • Information-seeking behavior
      • Information retrieval researchers
      • Summary of information search research
    • 3: Research on metacognition
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Early research
      • Metacognitive instruction
      • Summary of research on metacognition
    • 4: Problem solving and metacognition
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Problem solving and memory
      • Problem solving and metacognition
      • Metacognitive experiences and problem solving
      • Metacognitive knowledge and problem solving
      • Metacognition and problem solving on the web
      • Metacognitive training and problem solving
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of problem solving and metacognition
    • 5: Information problem solving and metacognitive skills
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Evolution of information problem solving and metacognition research
      • Metacognition in information problem-solving research from the EU
      • Improving students’ information problem solving
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of information problem solving and metacognition
    • 6: Education graduate students’ information-seeking skills
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Early research
      • Education graduate students’ research skills in the millennium
      • Importance of instruction to provide “new skills, new knowledge”
      • Library training for education graduate students
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of education graduate students’ information behavior
    • 7: Education students’ information seeking to support problem solving
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Education students’ metacognition in information problem solving in hypermedia systems
      • Metacognition in group problem solving
      • Education students’ lack of computing skills
      • Metacognition compensates for problem-solving deficiencies
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of research on education students’ information seeking to support problem solving
    • 8: Metacognitive skills and online search behavior
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Difficulties with online search
      • Need for skills instruction
      • Importance of mental models in searching information systems
      • Metacognitive techniques in online search
      • Role of metacognition
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of research on metacognitive skills in online search behavior
    • 9: Promoting metacognition
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Metacognition instruction
      • Metacognitive scaffolds
      • Metacognitive scaffolds to support information problem solving
      • Prompts
      • Importance of matching prompt type to individuals’ learning needs
      • Idea tactics tutorial
      • Summary of research on promoting metacognition
    • 10: The metacognitive scaffold: the idea tactics tutorial
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Research that informed the scaffold’s creation
      • Bates’ idea tactics
      • The tutorial’s tactics
      • Database search techniques
      • Creating the tutorial
      • Pilot studies
      • The tutorial
      • Resembles an instructional agent
      • Summary of the idea tactics tutorial
    • 11: Methodology: the think-aloud problem-solving activity and post-activity interview
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Mixed methods research
      • Guiding theory
      • Think-aloud protocol
      • Task-based usability study
      • Research instrument
      • The participants
      • The activity
      • Follow-up interviews
      • Summary of the problem-solving activity and interview
    • 12: Methodology: the data analysis
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Concurrent triangulation design
      • Legitimization and validity
      • Reliability
      • Transcripts of problem-solving activity using prefigured codes
      • Transcripts of problem-solving activity and post-search interviews using open coding schemes
      • QSR NVivo
      • Participant searches
      • IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS)
      • Summary of the data analysis
    • 13: The indexes
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Bates and testing the tactics
      • Relevance
      • Relevance Index
      • Narrowing and broadening search strategies
      • Number Index
      • Evaluation
      • Evaluation Index
      • Strategy
      • Strategy Index
      • Summary of the impact of the Indexes on participants’ problem solving
    • 14: Overall effect of tutorial on search outcomes
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Research questions
      • Research question 1: What search techniques did participants demonstrate in their initial search?
      • Research question 2: What general attributes were common among participants in their use of the tutorial?
      • Research question 3: What search techniques did participants demonstrate in their final searches?
      • Research question 4: How did the tutorial affect the outcome of the problem-solving activity?
      • Search obstacles and participants’ satisfaction level
      • Additional issues revealed in the post-search interview and during the think-aloud
      • Summary of the tutorial’s impact on participants’ problem solving
    • 15: The tutorial and idea generation and mental pattern breaking
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Bates’ idea tactics
      • Idea generation and mental pattern breaking
      • Database search strategies
      • Overcoming obstacles
      • Tutorial enhances search outcomes
      • Summary of the idea tactics’ role in idea generation and mental pattern breaking
    • 16: The impact of the tutorial on participants’ metacognitive behaviors in problem solving
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Metacognitive instruction
      • Participants’ adoption of idea tactic’s metacognitive behaviors in problem solving
      • Participants’ increased awareness of metacognitive abilities while problem solving
      • Education students’ use of metacognitive skills
      • Summary of the role of the tutorial in fostering metacognitive behaviors
    • 17: Metacognition and information literacy
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Early support
      • Research on metacognition and information literacy
      • Information literacy metacognition instruction
      • Summary of information literacy and metacognition
    • 18: Utilizing the tutorial
      • Abstract
      • Introduction
      • Importance of the tutorial as a reference tool
      • Optimizing use of the tutorial
      • Adapting the tutorial
      • Employing the tutorial in different learning environments
      • Tutorial improvements
      • Summary of utilizing the tutorial
    • 19: Conclusion and recommendations for future studies
      • Abstract
    • Appendix A: Search ratings
    • Appendix B: Scatter plot diagrams and bar graphs
    • References
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 220
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2014
  • Published: October 10, 2014
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • Paperback ISBN: 9781843347811
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780634623

About the Authors

Barbara Blummer

Barbara Blummer is the Reference Librarian for the Center for Computing Sciences in Bowie, Maryland, USA. She received a MLS from the University of Maryland in 1995, a master’s degree in Communications/Digital Library from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, and an EdD from Towson University in Instructional Technology in 2012. She has published numerous articles in the library literature and presented at various information literacy conferences.

Affiliations and Expertise

Center for Computing Sciences, USA

Jeffrey M. Kenton

Jeffrey M. Kenton is the Assistant Dean for the College of Education at Towson University, USA. Among his research interests are: instructional technology, technology literacy, problem-solving, assessment and metacognition. His present work revolves around studying the intersections between classroom technology use and pre-service preparation, content knowledge and metacognition.

Affiliations and Expertise

Towson University, USA

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