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Understanding student information behavior in relation to electronic information services: lessons from longitudinal monitoring and evaluation, part 1

Rowley, Jennifer and Urquhart, Christine (2007) Understanding student information behavior in relation to electronic information services: lessons from longitudinal monitoring and evaluation, part 1. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58 (8). pp. 1162-1174. ISSN 1532-2890

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Abstract

This two-part article establishes a model of the mediating factors that influence student information behavior concerning electronic or digital information sources that support their learning. The first part reviews the literature that underpinned the development of the research methodology for the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) User Behavior Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, as well as the literature that has subsequently helped to develop the model over the 5 years the Framework operated in the United Kingdom, in five cycles of research that were adjusted to meet the emerging needs of the JISC at the time. The literature review attempts to synthesize the two main perspectives in the research studies: (a) small-scale studies of student information behavior; and (b) the studies that focus on the quantitative usage of particular electronic information services in universities, often including implications for training and support. As the review indicates, there are gaps in the evidence concerning the browsing and selection strategies of undergraduate students and the interaction of some of the mediating influences on information behavior. The Framework developed a multimethod, qualitative and quantitative methodology for the continued monitoring of user behavior. This article discusses the methods used and the project-management challenges involved, and concludes that at the outset, intended impacts need to be specified carefully, and that funding needs to be committed at that point for a longitudinal study. A research project on information behavior, intended to inform current policymaking on infrastructure provision, is inherently difficult as behavior changes lag behind provision.

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