Category Archives: learning

Students’ use of research content

Students use research outputs; papers, books and so on. However, students are – like many other actual and potential users of research outputs – not familiar with the landscape of academic research, and the ways in which one can discover resources that are useful and relevant. (It is worth noting that the recent PRC report on SMEs access to research output cites sources suggesting that even professionals working in hi-tech SMEs have the same trouble.) A recent JISC report by a team at UCLAN led by Stuart Hampton-Reeves sheds some light on how students discover and access research outputs. The report tells us a little more about the “Google Generation”, noting that “most students will go to their library catalogue first, then Google” (and not social networking sites) to discover research, and that they do not generally have a sophisticated understanding of peer review. The report adds to a growing body of evidence, including that from UCL’s Ciber group and an ongoing user observational study, on how we can improve the “discover-ability” and accessibility of research outputs. It certainly seems that there are ways in which both tutors and libraries might better help students act as “apprentice researchers”, navigating the unfamiliar research landscape more effectively. Perhaps more fundamentally, infrastructure – including repositories – is making it possible to add more research outputs to the open web, which is where these users are.