CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1991

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Science in Information Science

Department

Center for Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Thomas W. MacFarland

Committee Member

Patricia Labbe

Abstract

Graduate students need to know the resources of their university library in order to do research and cannot be expected to remember any library training they may have received as undergraduates. A class offered by the library on how to search databases available through DIALOG's Classroom Instruction Program (CIP) was proposed, in cooperation with existing research classes in the student's field. A study was conducted at Winona State University. Winona, MN, with research classes offered by two professors in the field of special education. The study was to determine whether the information presented in an instruction session based on six learning objectives --choosing a database, choosing search terms and connectors, using search commands, modifying the search online, printing search results, and logging out--would enable graduate students to conduct an online search. Eighteen graduate students were provided with an hour's free searching on DIALOG in order to locate citations on their own choice of topic as part of an assignment from their instructor. Questionnaires were used to gather student assessments of their skills before and after their DIALOG search, while observation of the student during the search and examination of the actual printout of the search were used in conjunction with performance indicators to rate the actual skill in using DIALOG. All of the students were able to search DIALOG and print out citations but, based on performance indicators, none had the skill to be fully independent searchers.

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