A report from Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries gives insight into how well “digital native” college students navigate the web and refine their searches. Their findings are not encouraging:
The prevalence of Google in student research is well-documented, but the Illinois researchers found something they did not expect: students were not very good at using Google. They were basically clueless about the logic underlying how the search engine organizes and displays its results. Consequently, the students did not know how to build a search that would return good sources. (For instance, limiting a search to news articles, or querying specific databases such as Google Book Search or Google Scholar.)
Duke and Asher said they were surprised by “the extent to which students appeared to lack even some of the most basic information literacy skills that we assumed they would have mastered in high school.” Even students who were high achievers in high school suffered from these deficiencies, Asher told Inside Higher Ed in an interview.
In other words: Today’s college students might have grown up with the language of the information age, but they do not necessarily know the grammar.
For an article discussing this report, visit bit.ly/pBWZ6x.