Thursday, 29 July 2010

AHRC research award "Developing deep critical information behaviour"

The Department has been awarded a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to study how young people’s ability to develop and engage in deep critical information behaviour – to seek, find, evaluate and use information effectively – might be enhanced.

There is evidence that relatively “surface level” approaches to information behaviour are not uncommon amongst young people at both school and university level. This behaviour is characterised by relatively unsophisticated and ineffective information seeking based on a “least effort” principle, and a relatively uncritical approach to evaluating information in terms of its authority and appropriateness in relation to task needs.

This is problematic in that a deeper (i.e. more reflective and critical) approach to information seeking, evaluation and use has been empirically linked to academic performance, and is key to the development of the independent evidence-based learning and problem solving required to participate fully in work and personal life in modern society.

The research will seek answers to the following questions:
  • What are the nature and extent of relatively deep and surface information behaviours amongst young people at school and university?
  • What are the effects of these behaviours?
  • How might they be explained (what are their underlying mechanisms)?
  • How might deep critical information behaviour be enabled and fostered?

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