Backgrounds and behaviors: Which students successfully identify online resources in the face of container collapse
Keywords:information literacy, container collapse, search behavior, online information
In a digital environment, students have difficulty determining whether an information resource comes from a book, magazine, journal, blog, or other container, and lose the contextual information that these containers provide. This study of students from primary through graduate school looks at their ability to identify the containers of information resources, and how this ability is affected by their demographic traits, the resource features they attended to, and their behaviors during a task-based simulation. The results indicate that correct container identification requires deep engagement with a resource. Those who attended to cues such as genre and source were better able to identify container, while those who paid attention to heuristics such as its visual appearance and URL were not. Demographic characteristics, including educational cohort and first-generation student status, also had an effect.
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