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Science Journals and Science Students: Bringing Them Together Dr. Carol Tenopir University of Tennessee ctenopir@utk.edu. National Science Digital Library. Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education Program. Services Track 2001-2003 www.nsdl.org Web.utk.edu/~tenopir/nsf.

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Science Journals and Science Students: Bringing Them TogetherDr. Carol TenopirUniversity of Tennesseectenopir@utk.edu

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

national science digital library

National Science Digital Library

Science, Mathematics, Engineering and

Technology Education Program

Services Track

2001-2003

www.nsdl.org

Web.utk.edu/~tenopir/nsf

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

general questions
General Questions
  • How can undergraduate students be encouraged to recognize and use high quality science journal literature?
  • What features in a journal literature digital collection are most useful and encourage use?

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 focus groups and surveys chemistry physics engineering
Phase 1: Focus Groups and SurveysChemistry,Physics, Engineering
  • Undergraduates
  • Graduates (Graduate Teaching Assistants)
  • Faculty
  • ORNL Scientists
  • 7 Focus groups, ~60 participants

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase i analysis identified
Phase I Analysis Identified:
  • Variations by grade level
  • Variations by subject discipline
  • Access means for articles/search strategies
  • Variations in type of literature required and faculty recommendations
  • Problems with journals and access
  • Purposes for using journal articles

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase i analysis variations by grade level
Phase I Analysis: Variations by Grade Level
  • Undergraduate students have little knowledge of scholarly journals and little time for journal literature
  • Graduate students were introduced to journal literature when they declared a major or begin work on a thesis
  • Faculty believe an introduction to scholarly literature is necessary for freshmen

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

variations by grade level
Variations By Grade Level
  • “Students should be exposed to the literature at the junior or senior level. Freshmen don’t care. They faint easily.”
  • “Require freshmen to read journal articles? I’m just glad they read the textbook”.

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 variations by subject
Phase 1: Variations by Subject
  • Chemists feel journal literature is important and introduce it earlier and systematically to students.
  • In Physics and Astronomy undergraduate students have limited exposure to journals; however, some knowledge of online sources is required.
  • Engineering students become acquainted with journals at different times, in different classes, for different reasons.

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

variations by subject discipline
Variations By Subject Discipline
  • “Engineers read each article and spend a lot of time on each.”
  • “Chemistry has a long tradition … they have a corpus of textbooks and literature specialists.”

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 access means search strategies
Phase 1: Access Means & Search Strategies
  • Professors give articles to students to read
  • Students are asked to search and find relevant literature
  • The Internet is the tool of choice
  • Full-text databases are the most frequently used sources; 5 times per week on average
  • Students scan titles to locate topics of interest

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

access means for articles and search strategies
Access Means For Articles and Search Strategies
  • “Students want what they can print out. Immediate gratification. They need it now. Quick and easy. They don’t recognize the fact it isn’t in English.”
  • “If something is from .edu it has credibility.”
  • “I did a web tutorial a year ago but don’t remember any of it.”

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 variations in type of literature required faculty recommendations
Phase 1: Variations in Type of Literature Required & Faculty Recommendations
  • Undergraduates: textbooks, lab journals, magazines and interpretations
  • Graduates: general information from magazines and journals
  • Faculty recommendations include student awareness of society publications and journals

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

variations in type of literature required and faculty recommendations
Variations In Type Of LiteratureRequired And Faculty Recommendations
  • “Contrived searches are the worse. One professor would assign 10 articles to be defined on a nonsense topic. What made him stop? He retired.”
  • “Start with an encyclopedia … move to a treatise … monograph … articles … etc. Make a process”.
  • “Information literacy should be built into and reinforced in every course.”

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 problems with journals access
Phase 1: Problems with Journals & Access
  • Faculty sees problems with knowledge of searching and techniques
  • Time is an obstacle; students work on a last-minute basis looking for instant gratification
  • Students have difficulty perceiving reliable information on the web

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

problems with journals and access
Problems With Journals And Access
  • "If I can't find it in 30 seconds, it's not worth finding.“
  •  "The professor gave us an article that no one in the group, including the professor, could understand.“
  • “It’s very important for an article to be edited.”

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase 1 purposes for using journal articles
Phase 1: Purposes for Using Journal Articles
  • Specific assignments
  • Papers
  • Projects
  • Practice search exercises

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

purposes for using journal articles
Purposes For Using Journal Articles
  • "Students are graded on weight and sweat.“
  • “Professors give websites for data…not journal articles, but data.”
  • “A small paper, a small project.”

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

phase ii testing
Phase II: Testing
  • March – July 2003
  • Testing specified desired features
  • Testbeds: 1) a full text subset of OSTI’s Energy Citations Database; 2) ScienceDirect

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

experimental design
Experimental design
  • Participants
    • Participants from Phase I
    • New participants with similar backgrounds
  • Simulated class-related tasks
    • Faculty: conducting a search for literature to design a course assignment
    • Students: conducting a search for literature to complete a course assignment

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

data collection
Data Collection
  • Behavior
    • Search process (video)
    • Think-aloud during searching (audio synchronized with video)
    • Topic description before searching
    • Topic description after searching
    • Post search input
  • Cognitive trait
    • Learning style

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

some tentative conclusions from phase 2
Some Tentative Conclusions from Phase 2
  • Most students use feature labeled "easy search" or "quick search"
  • One male engineering student used browsing by subject clusters of journals (even though he didn't recognize specific titles)
  • No students used help files or search tips (faculty did)
  • Few use field limitation or advanced features 

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville

overall conclusions students
Overall Conclusions: Students
  • are comfortable with the web
  • have ways to evaluate web content
  • value quick and easy
  • need incremental help understanding journals and systems 

Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville