Just released is Project Information Literacy's new research report, "Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age" (Available as a PDF here, 72 pages, 5.73 MB). Tune into into the short PIL preview video (3:05 mins.) for a summary of key findings from the study.
The report features findings from a sample of 8,353 college students on 25 campuses distributed across the U.S. Given the sample size, PIL's new study is the largest scholarly survey analysis of information literacy conducted, to date.
Researchers found that even though many students may consider themselves fairly adroit at finding information, especially culled from the Web, and evaluating it, the student studied also reported being hobbled by having to frame a research inquiry for course-related research -- before they even begin.
Students reported that their biggest difficulties were in determining the nature and scope of a research assignment and what it required of them, while trying to manage a staggering amount of information available to them on college settings.
Few students in the sample had used a growing number of Web 2.0 applications in the last six months for collaborating on course research assignments and/or managing research tasks. Most respondents used the same routines for completing one research assignment to the next; many techniques were learned in high school and ported to college, according to respondents in follow-up interviews.
Project Information Literacy is an ongoing national research study, led by the UW iSchool's Alison Head, Research Scientist, and Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor. This year's research is funded with contributing funds from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.