Emily Cox deposited On their own terms: First-year student interviews about everyday life research can help librarians flip the deficit script on Humanities Commons 2 years, 6 months ago
The purpose of this study is to investigate how first-year students conduct everyday life research and how, if possible, their everyday research skills can inform information literacy instruction in higher education. Very few studies in information literacy emphasize existing knowledge that students bring with them to college; instead, the emphasis tends to fall on deficits in students’ academic research skills. Strengths-based approaches or asset-based approaches as found in the literature of psychology and education provide a basis for exploring this direction in information literacy education. Our research used a phenomenographic methodology, interviewing 40 first-year students from two large universities, a medium-sized university and a community college. This qualitative study suggests that first-year students are capable of using information purposefully to learn or research interests that have sparked their curiosities. They are also capable of reflecting on the ways that their investigations fulfilled their purposes, resulted in unexpected outcomes or made them consider their issue in a new light. These existing capacities provide promising starting points for strengths-based approaches to information literacy instruction.