Learning Style and the Information Search Process

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CONFERENCE: Georgia International Conference on Information Literacy

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Rootes, Mary Jane
Information literacy; Learning styles; Research skills; Curriculum and Instruction; Education; Information Literacy; Library and Information Science; Conferences & Public Events, Conferences & Events, Information Literacy Conference
lecture / presentation description
Dr. Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process theory (ISP) asserts that there are six stages within the quest for information: initiation, selection, exploration, formulation and collection. A successful search for information will entail each of these stages. In each of these stages, a person experiences thoughts, feelings and actions unique to the stage. Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory asserts that those with different predominant learning styles will experience thoughts, feelings and perceptions differently. If this is correct, it would follow that students with different predominant learning styles will experience the thoughts, feelings and actions within each of these stages differently. It is the hypothesis of this study that learners with different predominant learning styles experience the Information Search Process differently and thereby a respective variance in the delivery of instruction in order to achieve information literacy is necessary. The data used in this study is compiled from 4 sections of an online course in library research. The students participating in this study are identified according to his/her learning style. Those that participated completed a questionnaire inquiring about his/her thoughts, feelings and actions in the information search process of each of the subjects covered in the class, i.e. the use of the online catalog, the use of reference sources, the use of government information, use of databases, and the annotated bibliography assignment. The goal of this study is to evaluate how a student’s learning style impacts his/her experience in doing research and how such a variance can be accommodated in the online learning environment.