Methodology – Stage 2

Methodology

The Advanced Information Retrieval Skills program is mandatory for all higher degree research students to complete. The course consists of twelve hours of instruction and hands on workshops conducted by a university library.

A questionnaire was prepared and presented to the students at three stages throughout: at the commencement, at the end of the second workshop and on completion of the final workshop. The questionnaires were based on the Student Learning through Inquiry Measure (SLIM) questionnaire developed by Todd, Kuhlthau and Heinstrom with some modifications.

  1. Take a couple of minutes to reflect on your topic and write down what you know about it.
  2. How much do you know about this topic?
  3. When you do research what do you generally find easy to do?
  4. When you do research, what do you generally find difficult to do?
  5. How competent are you with database searching?
  6. How much do you know about using database search features to refine your search such as phrase searching, truncation, search fields etc?
  7. How much do you know about Citation searching?
  8. How familiar are you with Internet searching?
  9. How knowledgeable are you about evaluation criteria of sources?

Questions 5 through to 9 were specific to this learning activity which is to develop advanced research skills.

In questions 1,3 and 4 the students were provided with room to provide detailed answers whilst in the other questions the students were asked to select from four provided scaled responses.

Not at all                     Not much                    Quite a bit                   A great deal

The answers were given scores ranking from 1 for Not at All to 4 for A great deal. The results were then coded according to the method provided by the SLIM toolkit. Anecdotal data was also obtained by observation of the students and evaluation of their assessment.