An interesting article was recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing a study conducted by Project Information Literacy on the research habits of college students. The findings of this study echo what we see in the library and hear from instructors here at Kirkwood. Namely, that many students come to college ill-prepared for the research tasks that await them. They approach research as “a hunt for the right answer” as this article states, when true college level research should more resemble a process of both discovery and creation, with students fueling their own ideas with those of others, building on other scholars’ work instead of simply repeating the ideas as in a high school book report. Students need help with these essential skills! We’re not born knowing how to do research. We need to learn it by practicing over and over again, with lots of help and guidance along the way.

Two other interesting finds from this study. One: only 30% of the college students surveyed had ever asked a librarian for research help. Two: most students surveyed reported that they had no problem evaluating sources when doing research. Hmm…what do you think? Discuss amongst yourselves…