How Students Do Research

When I hear the term "native habitat" I usually think of animals, not college students. Tho some might argue that they can be one in the same… Regardless, the talk "What Do Users Really Do in their Native Habitat?", which featured two different studies on how students do their research, was interesting and enlightening. Both studies (one from the University of Guelph and one by ProQuest) found similar results.
Among the many findings was this one from Guelph: Students wanted librarians to fix the research services they already had before offering new ones. (In this case "fix" usually meant "make it more user-friendly.") Pascal Lupien said of that message, "It sounds kind of obvious, but that’s not how it usually happens."
John Law discussed the ProQuest study, which revealed that one great way to get students to understand the resources and to use the appropriate ones for their assignments was to have instructions give them names of resources to use. That, Law said, was the "golden endorsement" that helped them do good research.
To share and learn from these study results, watch for them to appear online. You can server your students much better by asking what they want rather than assuming you already know!
~Kathy Dempsey
Editor, Marketing Library Services newsletter

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