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Entries in UK secondary schools (2)


An investigation into Scottish teenagers’ information literacy and search skills

This valuable research work was conducted in collaboration with the IL CoP, by Morgan Harvey, David Brazier and Geoff Walton and has now been published in the journal ‘Information Research’

Introduction. This paper presents the results of a study investigating the information literacy and search skills of young people in Scotland. 
Method. The participants, secondary school pupils between the ages of 13 and 14 (n=57), completed two out of four different search tasks from the TREC HARD collection, for which the correct answers (i.e. relevant documents) were known. Their interactions with the search system were logged and information about their own perceptions of the task were collected through pre- and post-task questionnaires. 
Analysis. The log data from the search system was analysed using the R statistical software package to understand the performance and behaviour of the participants when conducting the search tasks. 
Findings. While we identified some evidence that information literacy and search skills were being employed, overall performance was low with participants often unable to produce successful queries and/or unable to identify relevant documents, even when some were present in the results. Despite assessing their own performance as being good, the pupils struggled to formulate good quality queries to assess documents for relevance, frequently selecting non-relevant sources. 
Conclusion. Search performance and ability to identify relevant information was generally poor, a fact that participants themselves were frequently unable to recognise. The results also suggest a reliance on complex search assistance tools (such as spell checking and query suggestions), which are common features of major search engines, but not of smaller systems, which pupils are also likely to have to use. Despite the pupils having been giving some information literacy training in the previous year, the results suggest that more needs to be done to help school pupils in searching for and assessing relevant source documents.

Dr Morgan Harvey, Senior Lecturer and Computer Science Programme Leader, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Posted by Jenny Foreman, Scottish Government Library


Web 2.0 Tools and Information Literacy Development in UK secondary schools

 an MSc student at University College London is looking for any school librarians to help with his research. He has created a survey on SurveyMonkey to determine the extent of Web 2.0 usage in fostering students' information literacy by secondary school librarians in the UK. 

The aim of my survey is to get an idea of how Web 2.0 tools such as social networks (e.g. Facebook), microblogs (e.g. Twitter), multimedia sharing platforms (e.g. YouTube, Instagram), and social bookmarking sites (e.g. Reddit) are being used to foster the information literacy skills of secondary school students in the UK. 

He would greatly appreciate if any school librarians could take some time to fill out the survey. It is 10 questions and should 'not take any longer than 10 minutes'. 

Web 2.0 and UK Secondary School Information Literacy Training Survey