List of Tables
List of Figures
1 COGNITION-PERSONAL TRAITS-INFORMATION SEARCH
1.2 Cognition as an Issue of Information Search Process
1.3 Why Cognitive Context is Important?
1.3.1 Socio Environment (External factors)
1.3.2 Cognitive Environment or Personal Traits (Internal factors)
1.4 Does Cognition or Personal Traits Create Differences in Information Search?
2 PREDECESSORS’ VIEWS
2.2 Some Variables Affecting Students’ Behavioural Differences in Library
2.2.1 A Closer Look at the Effects of Cognition in Library Use
2.3 Library Use Patterns of Undergraduates and Others
2.3.1 Use Patterns from Discipline Context
2.3.2 Library Use Patterns from the Context of Academic Years
2.3.3 Use Patterns from Cognitive Context
2.4 Why Need to Look at Information Search from the Cognitive Context?
3 COGNITION AND INFORMATION SEARCH
3.1 Paucity of Personal Traits (Phase One)
3.1.1 Information Search and Traits Relations
3.2 Cognitive Similarity (Phase Two)
3.2.1 Conceptual Framework for Extracting Cognitive Context
3.3 Analysing the Cognitive Context by Factor Analysis
3.4 Clustering the Students According to the Cognitive Context
3.5 Students’ Patterns of Library Use-Cognitive Context
4 COGNITION AND INFORMATION SEARCH (Phase Three)
4.2 Cognitive Elements in the Experiments
4.3 Factoring the Twenty Incidents
4.4 Clustering the Students According to the Cognitive Context
4.5 Students’ Patterns of Information Search
4.6 Diversity and Commonality between the Two Surveys
4.7 Cultural Diversities in Information Search
5 CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This book continues a line of research developed in three previous studies. The first study in the series, by Karunanayake & Nagata (2007) examined some affected variables of information need occurrence of an information seeker and developed a comprehensive hypothetical model. The second study, by Karunanayake & Nagata (2008), looked at influences of personal traits (combination of both cognitive and psychological context as a whole) in the process of information searching. The third study is a doctoral degree research results (Karunanayake 2010). The results of the third study are limited to the two personal traits and excluded psychological traits. Hence, this book is a continuing result of the previous three research studies.
With the rapid development of information systems, libraries try to provide wider information opportunities for the users through ever-growing innovative services and informative resources. Contemporary, academic programs and the method of teaching in universities, as well as the choice of information of students, are also being changed. Though there are wider learning opportunities at a glance, it is uncertain whether the students are achieving the required learning outcome through their process of seeking information from libraries. Therefore, it is imperative to comprehend whether and how library users obtain comfortable experiences or difficulties in library use when designing library systems. Study of users’ behavior directed towards the cognitive context is analyzed and explained by this study. Analyzing the cognitive context of library users is vital to understand how libraries are being used and what kinds of patterns they constitute. Hence, this study tries to explain students’ library use in the process of information searching and obtaining to understand their core efforts, and identifying patterns of library use.
At the set out this study reviewed two kinds of forerunners’ researches. The first is an examination of arguments about the process of information search. Theories which argued on crucial points of searching behaviors of people with regard to their knowledge, skill, and others psychological elements, namely Gaps of knowledge (Allen), Uncertainty (Kuhlthau), Gaps through sense making process (Dervin), and Anomaly status (Belkin), were examined. Secondly, the recent researches on pattern development of students’ library use, in general, were also reviewed. Therewith the two paper surveys conducted at two countries will be discussed.
To investigate students’ searching behavior from the point of cognitive context (knowledge and skill), twelve information incidents classified into five observable search stages (starting a search, resources/tools selections, locating the information and materials, use of library service and system and self - evaluation) was considered. Judging from the results, the study found that the students use libraries in different ways for their own information needs and use requirements due to differences in knowledge and skill. In fact, students' basic knowledge and skill traits in information search are not identical. Most students appeared to be affected by four factors in information search in libraries. They were “Method of Locating & Searching”, “Use of Materials & Services”, “Searching Needs”, and “Own Competence”. Thus, knowledge and skill of students can be plotted on cognitive space with four dimensions (factors). This space can be considered as cognitive context space on information search of students and the cognitive context of a student is represented as a set of four-factor scores. Contemporary, four different groups of students showing different concerns on the factors were found. Students of a group had common tendencies (common information search pattern) on cognitive context were prominent.
The research exploring the users’ patterns of information search was implemented again using another sample to find out more evidence of use patterns from a different students' community. The extent of knowledge and skill in relation to information search was illuminated by core six factors such as “ Proficient Search Capability, Reliability on Library Services, Acknowledgement of Digital Resources, Usage of Assistance, Way of Finding the Materials, and Prior Knowledge” by the second survey. Simultaneously four kinds of segmentation of user groups were found by cluster analysis. Patterns of information search, a group of students, were identified by the two surveys. Among them, a group of users who can be referred to as “Positive-Active Users” was commonly seen between the two communities. Different behavioral patterns of information search were indicated by other groups which show mixtures of affecting factors on students’ behavior. Some of the differences between two communities shown here could have been caused by the different cultural contexts. Patterns of information search will help to understand students’ constructive ability in thinking, understanding, learning and other mental processes during library use. Each group's relationship with the affecting factors should be considered when designing or improving library services. As a result, students could experience comfortable services when searching information in libraries .
This study was undertaken from the user oriented standpoint and finally took a step towards understanding students’ information search patterns focusing on cognitive context; knowledge and skill. Further studies are needed to investigate students’ searching patterns with special attention to psychological affections (emotional experience) of library use. Identification of such patterns is a prerequisite for the development of library services and of practical importance in designing such services.
List of Tables
Table 1 - Eighteen Information Search Incidents which Covered Personal Traits (KSP)
Table 2-Traits Influence in the Information Search
Table 3-The Conceptual Framework on Cognitive Context
Table 4 - Factor Analysis of Twelve Information Incidents
Table 5 - Presentation of the Means of the Twelve Information Incidents with the Four Factors and the Four Groups
Table 6 - The Conceptual Framework on Cognitive Context
Table 7 - Factor Analysis of Twenty Information Incidents of a Library Search
Table 8 - Presentation of the Mean Scores of the Twenty Information Incidents with the Six Factors and the Four Clusters of Groups
Table 9 - Identified Information Search Patterns by Factors and Clusters in the First Study
Table 10 - Identified Information Search Patterns by Factors and Clusters in the Second Study
List of Figures
Figure 1: Socio-Cognitive Contexts
Figure 2 -Traits Influence of the KSP Structure
Figure 3 - Characteristics of Cognitive Context by the Four User Groups
Figure 4 - Average Users per Each Group
Figure 5 - Presentation of the Means of the Twelve Information Incidents with the Four Factors and the Four Clusters of Groups
Figure 6 - Scree Plot of the Rotated Factors of the Variables
Figure 7 - Characteristics of Cognitive Context by the Four User Groups
Figure 8 - Average Users per Each Group
Figure 9 - Presentation of the Mean Scores of the Twenty Information Incidents with the Six Factors and the Four Clusters of Groups
I am very grateful to Haruki Nagata, Professor of Emeritus at the University of Tsukuba Japan for his invaluable guidance, advice and encouragement have given throughout this work. I will forever be grateful to my beloved family Nima, Nilmini, Arjun and Apoorwa for their continuous support to reach this target.
1 COGNITION-PERSONAL TRAITS-INFORMATION SEARCH
Libraries play a vital role towards the advancement of information in society. A good library service cannot be provided without surveying users’ requirements and actual practices of searching information. Well-understood practices of information search in a library are a pre-requisite for the development of an effective library system. Also, an assessment of the information search practices of undergraduates in the university libraries is essential for the development in the field of academic libraries for achieving the required educational outcome.
This book explores the students’ cognitive context (personal traits) in terms of knowledge trait and skill trait emphasizing those interacts with different patterns in the process of information search in libraries. The investigation of different patterns within these two traits is the prime objective of this study. This book is completely based on the two experimental survey results. The two surveys were carried out in two different user communities. The first survey results which targeted the understanding of students’ cognitive aspects in information searching was further expanded with a new survey consisting of a sample selected from another user community. The results of the two studies might have a great impact upon drawing an in-depth understanding of students' cognitive aspects in information search in libraries.
This book is basically divided into five chapters. The first chapter examines and determines the background of information search and cognitive context. The second chapter presents the previous research work and some variables affecting information searchers’ behavioral differences and the effects of cognitive aspects of information searching. The third chapter mainly discusses the results of the first survey (Phase one and Phase two). The fourth chapter discusses the findings of the second survey (Phase three). Chapter five presents the conclusion and implications of the results. Based on the cognitive context, it is confirmed that several information search patterns are existing among student groups and differences are found in library use. The chapter begins with the process applied in the research with major findings. The chapter summarizes the constructive concept or factors which strongly influence the information search in libraries and relation with the specific user groups. Also, propose possible solutions to overcome the existing shortcomings found among university undergraduates.
1.2 Cognition as an Issue of Information Search Process
Information search process in a library is not an accidental event. Also, it is not a single discrete event or an entity. It constitutes structural, cultural, personal, situational and behavioral events and entities often labeled as context or contextual situation between the library and the users.
“Any factors or variables that are seen to affect individuals’ information seeking behavior: socio-economic conditions, work roles, task, problem situations, communities, and organization with their structures and cultures, etc.” (Talija, Keso & Pietilainen, 1999 752p.).
Information search process could be considered as a two-way process that has interconnected the library and the user. How libraries are being used and how information is being found depend on the contextual situations of both the library and the user. In this instance, the context focuses on the capability of constructing and managing the variety of information that will be required to the user. In the context of a library, it includes the strength of the systems and services. From the users' contexts, use of library depends on the situation of the user which needs a great deal of capability in using libraries. In this process, the contextual situation makes a deep impact on one another in the process of information search.
“Information involves both an activity accomplished by someone and a process experienced by someone. From the perspective of the informant, information is an activity that is accomplished. From the perspectives of the user, information is a process: something that happens to the user” (Allen, 1996,.2p.)
The users in libraries either search for information by themselves or expect the help of the librarians. But most of the users are likely to find information on their own. There might be a large number of users who do not consult intermediaries when they encounter a problem whilst using libraries to search for information. When designing user-centred information services, librarians must be skilled in implementing different methods to the information behavior of the users. It is possible that some users may be far more successful than others; there might be other users who abandon library use at any stage of the searching process. Several studies have found that libraries are not being utilized or under-utilized by the users. This is because these processes always depend on their contextual situations.
“It has become clear that the complexity of information – seeking behavior requires research designs that allow for the study not only of the information seeker in a particular environment or as a member of a particular profession or academic discipline, but also of the difference inherent in him or her as an individual. The seeker brings to the task of information seeking previous experience with similar tasks; an individualized perception of his or her information environment, knowledge of different sources or places to find information; differing preferences for sources types; and differing perception of when and how successfully the information search has been accomplished” (Reneker, 1992, 13p.).
In the last few decades, many scholars have identified the affecting variables of users' context, particularly environmental and personal factors and have discussed the effects of them. Those scholars considered the information search from the users' point of view. Some have looked at information search process mainly through behavioral context (e.g. Ellis, 1989 and 1993; Ellis, Cox & Hall, 1993) and others through cognitive context (e.g. Kuhlthau, 1991 and 1993). In addition to that, as a new aspect, to obtain a better understanding of users' information behavior, the socio, and cultural context were also taken into consideration (e.g. Capurro, 1992; Miska, 1992; Vakkari, 1994). Some scholars have pointed out that to understand the users' context; it is necessary to study both the cognitive and the socio-cultural contexts as a whole (e.g. Savolainen, 1995; Wilson, 1981).
Among the above approaches, the users' information searching process through their cognitive aspect was considered by many scholars (Dervin & Nilan, 1986). In this aspect, the users have to take decisions based on their understanding of the context in which information problems may arise. Each user has the capability of making a decision within himself or with the outside environment where the person, provides an additional supportive role for information searching.
In this instance, identification of the users’ cognitive context is vital because two different users may have two different behavior of information searching in libraries, due to their different understanding of library setting and use. The relationship between the cognitive context and the process of information searching in libraries is considered as a problematic topic of great interest during the past few decades. This is because the cognitive context emphasizes the searching as a deliberate process. It is initiated by users who are motivated by their own understanding and ability to use the library system. Perhaps, different users will receive the same information from the same library settings depending on the existing levels of their own cognitive context. Hence, this research explains the users’ cognitive context and tries to identify the way they behave in order to acquire the information needs.
1.3 Why Cognitive Context is Important?
Libraries try to provide better information services to students in order to achieve utmost educational outcomes. Students who can use libraries comfortably will easily meet the learning outcomes. But it is not certain to what extent students are comfortable or have difficulties in accessing and utilizing the available library services. Such experiences may depend on the strength of the library and as well as a cognitive aspect or knowledge and skill of users to utilize library services. So, there are two aspects to improve the students' experiences; the strength of the library and students' cognitive aspect (knowledge traits and skill traits) to utilize library services. For the past few decades, many scholars described the affecting factors through voluminous studies. They found different paradigms for addressing the user situation of information searching.
For the first aspect, many pieces of evidence are found in the research. But for the other aspect, the researchers are a few in numbers. This study however mainly focuses on the latter aspect. It seems that this has seldom been investigated by the library use studies. In the process of information search in libraries, users are diverse in their cognitive competence which might cause different behavior. The cognitive competence to utilize library services is a part of information literacy in general. However, here the focus of interest is not individual cognitive competence itself but a cognitive context which affects a way of practical information search in libraries. Cognitive context is cognitive aptitude or disposition behind practices of information search. The basic assumption of this work is that differences in practices of information search by different users are related to some extent with differences in the cognitive context of library users and it is possible to identify differences of cognitive context. Cognitive context always represents as a set of two traits, the individual’s knowledge identity and capacity of skill.
(Karunanayake & Nagata 2007) looked this issue as a complex situation created by the paucity areas of the users' current states of cognition. Hence, the below explanation is based on that exploration. Having compared a number of predecessors' angles, it is thought that there are void areas in the state of the individual's cognition (one who can't find any particular solution). The problem of insufficiency occurred due to a variety of voids that have appeared in the current state of the cognitions. (The term, "voids occur due to paucity" used here is identified in different ways as gaps, stress, anomaly, uncertainty, sense maker, antecedents, answers for question etc. by many scholars and these will be elaborated in chapter two with more details). The concept of paucity encompasses the different characteristics of the individual which are described in the bellow model. Several indications of high cognitive factors will be involved to create voids in the process because the users have to perform and maintain very complex mental and emotional involvement at different stages of information search process. The expected information needs can be provided easily if the above-mentioned paucity areas of cognition are identified. Based on these assumptions, the study found six basic affecting factors which influence internally and externally. Internal factors recognized as cognitive context and external factors as socio context. A cognitive context recognized as a set of features which expresses the individual's knowledge, Skill and emotional or Psychological identity and capacity often labeled as personal traits. Contemporarily, cognitive activities have significant relation with the various aspects of the socio-environment (external factors) such as socio, cultural, and geographical influences that the user represents as explain in the below model (figure 1).
Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten
Figure 1: Socio-Cognitive Contexts
The inner circle represents the cognitive context which includes three personal traits. The outer circle represents the socio context which includes three affecting factors.
1.3.1 Socio Environment (External factors)
Users are in an adaptive system an always influenced by the environment. They are mainly influenced by the factors occurring in an external environment (Outer circle in the model). The individual elements included in the external factors are represented by three elements. Those are socio factors, geographic factors, and cultural factors which external to the user. Socio factors highly depend on the basis of demographic differences such as children, young adults or older citizens, students or professionals and on the gender of the individual. Geographic factors derived from the area differences, (geographic locations), staff differences, (in an organization), or class differences, (in a college or year difference in a university). It is obvious that the individuals may differ between rural and urban areas. Therefore, the geographic factors could be considered as a major influencing external factor of an individual. Similarly, Individual's cultural mediation is another external variable that could be considered. It includes national, regional, racial or religious or many aspects that the individual represents.
1.3.2 Cognitive Environment or Personal Traits (Internal factors)
Cognition also represents by three innermost variables such as knowledge traits, skill traits and psychological traits.
Knowledge Traits; Knowledge trait is the interpersonal understanding or self-schema about the self that is derived from past experience. It always organizes and guides library users. The knowledge represents the individual’s direct experience and it will actively construct the searching process. The knowledge can be identified by evaluating the level of understanding in the information search process. The term “knowledge” refers to understanding needed-getting known through experience.
Skill Traits; Even though the users are knowledgeable, a series of functional skills are needed to be used. These include logical skill, communication skill, and technical skill necessary to handle, organize, evaluate, and analyze the available information. The aspect of skill seems to be under the control of cognitive conditions (Stillings, Weisler & Chase, 1995). It directly increases or decreases the information search ability of the user. The term “skill” refers to the ability to manipulate information. This study considers that the cognitive context behind practices of library use consists of these two basic traits which are involved in treating a problematic situation in library use.
Psychological Traits; At each stage of the search process, there will be a conflict situation in one's mind with a series of questions due to some favourable psychological states influencing their level of confidence. Some seekers have significant differences in their levels of confidence in the search process which is based on their beliefs and values. The levels of confidence are represented through various forms such as enthusiasm, patience, perseverance, imagination, willingness or interest, curiosity, flexibility, frustration, happiness, phobia etc. The psychological traits are very important in the information search process because they reflect the invisible output of the user’s feelings.
The three personal traits which represent the cognitive and psychological view of the individual could vary from user to user or within an individual user. Based on this, a unified package or KSP schema was introduced by (Karunanayake & Nagata 2008). Then a couple of sequence of related eighteen activities which represent (six knowledge item, six skill items, and six psychological items) of the personal traits were identified by a user study. Having analyzed the finding, it is noticed that the psychological traits as a separate entity and external to the other remain two traits (knowledge and skills). Therefore, the term cognitive context refers and limited to the two traits of knowledge traits and skill traits in this study.
1.4 Does Cognition or Personal Traits Create Differences in Information Search?
Two may have identical approaches or they may differ in their approaches to the same process of information search with each other. This can be caused by different cognitive context and attitudes they have. It might generate different practices of searching among students. Information search is an expression that indicates a set of cognitive context and attitudes which affect practices by students. It indicates a cognitive and psychological aspect of attitudes not factual aspects of practices. Taking these as the basis, two objectives will be developed.
1) What kind of cognitive context are found among university students?
2) Are students clustered into groups with different cognitive context?
The study of the relationship between students' cognitive context and its correlation with information search patterns is important an immediate requirement for the development of academic libraries. The designed objectives of this study were aimed at finding certain possible answers for such requirements that existed.
Patterns of information search are complex processes that are created by many different affecting factors which are external and internal to the individual. Three external factors and three internal traits were identified through predecessors' arguably mixed research approaches. The unified model was designed. Then two personal traits which have a close relationship were plotted in the cognitive context. There with the knowledge and skill traits were recommended to identify the patterns of information search in university libraries. Such effort is a dire need for the development of academic libraries. This study was aimed at finding all possible answers for such requirements that existed.
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2 PREDECESSORS’ VIEWS
This chapter looks at a review of the literature that has contributed to various aspects of cognition, information search and library use in general. It traces the key concepts of affecting variables of the user and the relation with knowledge and skill. In this chapter, the predecessors' arguments will be used to explain the effects of cognitive context in the process of library use. Also, the results of recent studies of students' patterns of library use are discussed summarized and compared. Hence, for the discussion, this chapter is organized by three broad sections, namely literature related to the "2.2 Some Variables Affecting Students' Behavioural Differences in Library”. Literature associated with the latest results “2.3 Related Studies on Library Use Patterns of Undergraduate Students and Others”, and “2.4 Significance of Library Use Patterns from the Cognitive Context”.
2.2 Some Variables Affecting Students’ Behavioural Differences in Library
Studies on information search are very common field of Library and Information Science. The early studies in the above field were library oriented or system oriented. They focused particularly users’ library use from a system point of view. It considers only what kind of services; sources are being important and degree of demands made by the users. But users’ cognitive and emotional characteristics were not considered. Dervin & Nilan (1986) pointed that without analyzing users’ cognitive and emotional characteristics, it is difficult to comprehend how searchers are receiving information. Then the concept of early analysis of system-oriented changed rapidly towards being person-oriented in order to enhance information services.
In the person-oriented approach, users are focused. Their cognitive and emotional characteristics are centered. This is because information search patterns are not directly observable and are inferred from users’ context which clearly motivated by their own capabilities. This chapter review the user-oriented approaches which offers the opportunity to examine the actual patterns of students emphasizing their knowledge and skill.
2.2.1 A Closer Look at the Effects of Cognition in Library Use
This section discusses the predecessors' theoretical explanations leading to a more user-cantered approach which pointed effects of cognition in different terms and angles. Those are addressing individual's library use based on the cognitive and emotional experiences presented as follows 220.127.116.11 As a Gap in Knowledge, 18.104.22.168 Library Use as an Answer to Questions, 22.214.171.124 Gaps within the Sense-Making Process, 126.96.36.199 As a Stress Situation, 188.8.131.52 As Uncertainty through Common Process Approach, 184.108.40.206 As an Anomaly.
220.127.116.11 As a Gap in Knowledge
The information search process starts with enthusiasm to accomplish a specific information task such as general needs (day to day information) or specific needs (academic or professional information). That task leads to a conception of an idea for information searching. Several approaches towards information searches were identified (Allen, 1996). Four types of approach which deeply influence the search process, calling them the “contextual situations” of the user were introduced. One of them, the cognitive approach, represents the individuals’ knowledge structure, which strongly influences the information search process. A cognitive phenomenon is the intellectual representation of the human mind “the cognitive perspective seeks to explain behavior by reference to how people think and what they know" (Allen, 1996, p.61). Knowledge has been always perceived as central to human activities and it has been defined as the capacity to act (Sveiby, 1997). Each action in information searching has decision making that is related to the people's personal knowledge. A cognitive phenomenon always represents the acting capacity of the individual's knowledge which creates gaps within the actions of the information search process.
Besides, Allen identified that an information search starts due to a gap in knowledge. If the individual knowledge structure is unable to fulfil the required information needs, failure creates a gap between the needs and the users. This gap occurs because of knowledge (schema activation), identification of alternative action (slot filling) and the selection of alternative courses of action (action-consequence link). The basic argument of Allen is based on the gaps which exist between individuals’ knowledge structure and their life situation.
Arguments of Allen indicated that more potential searcher gets rich outcomes through library searches than from the poorer in literacy. "It is personal knowledge embedded in individual experience and involves intangible factors such as personal belief, perspectives and the value system (Nonaka & Takeuchi 1995, pp.viii)". Different discrepancies are to be expected among individuals based on their capacity in action through the library use patterns in this study. The validity of the three steps of Allen's (schema activation), (slot filling) and (action–consequence link) indicated gaps of knowledge among individuals. The Allen's concept of gaps in knowledge explained the cognitive ability as one vital aspect of the contextual situation of the searcher. The concept has a close relationship with the content of this study which explains the extent of knowledge and skill related to library use for stating the students' positions in libraries through their behaviors. Are individuals potential or poorer in libraries? Do different patterns of use exist? If so, how can do the identification between those two parties and their patterns? In other words, expected patterns that occur at the individual level might constitute the Allen’s gaps in knowledge.
18.104.22.168 Library Use as an Answer to Questions
In another study, Taylor further explained the interaction between the searcher’s cognitive structure and the library use. He explained that the mental representation of the library searcher should carry a significant role in library use. Four levels of information search behaviors were identified as a process of question negotiation of the users (Taylor, 1968). According to Taylor, there are four stages within information searching which clearly explain searchers’ behavior. Each of the stages explains the searchers’ contextual situation in contrast to their levels of confidence. In the context of the searcher, the levels of confidence have been described as follows.
Visceral needs: - Unexpressed (unconscious) needs for information. If the users have a feeling that they have no confidence in questioning what they really want, such a situation is full of doubt and uncertainty.
Conscious needs: - This is a conscious mental description or ambiguous and rambling statement. In this situation, the users are quite confident of their needs but the level of their needs is unfocused, unrevealed and full of ambiguity. Even though it reflects some areas of the needs, it is full of articulation. For fulfilling these needs, consulting friends, advisers and teachers could be the solution.
Formalized needs: - (qualified and rational needs or constructed needs). In this stage, the users know well about what they want, where it is and what to ask but do not know how to ask.
Compromised needs: - In this stage, the above-formalized needs are transformed into a formal system such as direct contact with the librarian, sources, services or the system. In this process, the librarian should be knowledgeable about "The subject of the seekers’ interests”, “Their motivation”, “Personal characteristics of the users”, “The relationship of the inquiry to file organization” and “Anticipated answer”. Taylor identified this process as five filters of the question negotiation between the user and the librarian.
The above four levels focus on the existing cognitive ability of the users. The users with formalized needs want directions about the information system. When they come to a compromised stage, the direct support of the librarian should start. Three stages; visceral, conscious, and formalized are focused on the effects of cognition of the users when they seek information by themselves. But when the users come to the stage of compromise, system help or direct support of the librarian will be needed. There are tendencies to show that those searchers in libraries are reluctant to consult help from librarian or library staff. Though the Taylor's compromised stage explained the significance of users' negotiation ability for seeking answers, most of the searchers are likely to find information on their own. There may be a large number of searchers who do not consult intermediaries when they encounter problems whilst searching for information.
In the process of information search in libraries, Taylor discussed the ability to communicate or negotiate is depend on the cognitive levels of the searcher. Taylor's study suggests that the situations in which the searcher tend to ask help from the library professionals as the process of question negotiation. Particularly the users who have negotiation ability become an important factor in the user-system interaction.
22.214.171.124 Gaps within the Sense-Making Process
A search for information defined as, "sense-making approach" (Dervin, & Nilan, 1986; Dervin, 1992). Sense-making explores elements namely: a situation in time and space that defines the context in which information problems arise; a gap between the contextual situation and the desired outcome. She presented these elements in a triangle as a situation, a gap/bridge, and use/outcome. She further named the decision-making as a movement of needs. This movement is prevented by those gaps. To minimize the gaps, one must create a new sense to make progress. Here, the sense must be actively constructed.
According to this theory, there are bridges to cross the above gaps. Dervin's arguments are based on two distinct approaches of human thoughts and actions. In the sense-making process, information considered as a theoretical object with three different perspectives. 1. The information represents many forms of necessity for humans which is external to the self. This information could be obtained from the environment and also from formal sources which are available in a required field. 2. The users who have their own ideas about their needs. These situations represent the contributions of the individual ability towards gaining the needed information. 3. If information needs cannot be resolved, then the users have to make a decision on what kind of solutions they should apply to fill the gaps which are coming from the second information situation. They should consult people in the field or they can rely on the information systems and retrieval to fill their information problems.
Dervin viewed those three perspectives as a situation in space and time. The users lacking the information they require, have to construct a desirable relationship between space and time in the aforesaid situation. The users have to take decisions based on the knowledge of the context in which information problems may arise. These cognitive statuses of humans are a continual process in time and space. Each user has the capability of making sense of itself. Background or the outside environment where the person is provides an additional supportive role for sense making.
126.96.36.199 As a Stress Situation
The information search process was identified as a stressful situation for the user (Wilson, 1981-2000). In a series of studies, a variety of intervening variables affecting the user in the search process were introduced. Mainly those were grouped into two kinds of activating mechanism. One is the stress/coping theory which expresses the affected variables of a person before the seeking activities and the second is the risk/reward theory which expresses the affected variables of a person in the search situation. These twin mechanisms were represented by several intervening variables such as psychological, demographical, environmental, and interpersonal, source characteristics and self-efficacy. In the studies, a prominent place is given to psychological factors. The basic philosophy of those studies shows how information needs to arise and what barriers prevent the seeking process for information acquisition as follows.
1) Information need and its drivers, the factors that give rise to an individual’s perception of need;
2) The factors that affected the individual’s response to the perception of need;
3) The processes or actions involved in that response.
The significant fact is the terms used in the Wilson’s theory (stress/coping and risk/reward) which explain the individual's capacity. The searcher who is full of stress leads to risk in libraries while high potential searchers (who has coping ability) solve the information problem at hand and lead them to get rewards in the search process. In this relation, self-efficacy explains the user’s cognitive capacity. Identification of existing different patterns of library use in terms of knowledge and skills may have represented the self-efficacy of Wilson’s theory.
188.8.131.52 As Uncertainty through Common Process Approach
In the information behavior context, information is the objective existing outside the user (Kuhlthau, 1991 and 1993). The research is mainly focused on the experience of the user as a key component of user behavior. Also, the study tried to understand the psychological processes of the user to construct a sense of their needs for information.
The study discussed that information seeking is a contextualized process of constructing and understanding from an initial state of uncertainty. Searching patterns associate with the actions of searching and using sources. It incorporates three major components; (the affective feeling), (the cognition-thoughts), and (the physical search actions and strategies). These components are common in each stage of the search process. Basically, Kuhlthau’s views are based on the information seeker’s experience are introduced in the six stages such as “task initiation”, “topic selection”, “exploration”, “focus formulation”, “information collection”, “search closure”. She further mentioned that the users are directly involved in solving their needs situations while searching. Hence, factors such as the state of the user’s needs, use of sources and the ways of searching are all dynamic.
This is how her six stages were activated in the process. When the users need some information, perhaps they may not know what kinds of information is needed for their problems. It may be due to ignorance of their knowledge. Then they feel that they want information to solve the problem or task and begin to initiate a search. Having initiated the task, the users are trying to select the topic which is relevant to their information needs. Those topics help them to explore the investigation that they might predict. Under the exploration, perhaps the users might get more complicated information on particular needs. But they may be rather busy with locating the relevant documents or may have a lack of sense in finding more appropriate documents. Also, it may be a matter of understanding the users' needs through the librarian or the users may not have enough courage to explore their actual needs.
Each stage is affected by the anxiety of the users. But still, the information problem remains. The users have to forecast or judge their real needs but are unable to find the most relevant information which is needed. Then the users have to focus on a formulation about the information they want and they should reduce the uncertainty they have had so far. In this stage, their own confidence will be increased. The focus formulation is equal to the formalized needs of Taylor's arguments. Now the users' level of uncertainty is getting less and less. Users feel much more confident of collecting what they need. Under the next stage (search closer) Kuhlthau pointed out the users' searching ability by themselves or with the help of the librarian. The final stage is presenting, writing or achieving the information by closing the entire process. If the users are not satisfied with the outcome, still their uncertainty remains. This situation is similar to the anomalous state of knowledge of Belkin and reducing the uncertainty of Taylor's theory. Khulthau's uncertainty may also arise with the inexperience of the searcher which is always accompanied by anxiety.
When looking at Kuhlthau's explanation, it is well proved that each stage of her six levels of users' information seeking process links with her basic principles of feeling, thoughts, and actions. Each of the principles is affected by uncertainty. If the users were able to construct certainty through the entire process, the expected information needs could be sorted out easily.
Kuhlthau’s paradigms emphasized that peoples’ information needs are something real rather than experimentally determined. The study explored the relationship of uncertainty with the users’ perception of the complexity of task, formulation of focus and use of sources by studying the behavior of school children in 1983 and securities in 1993. At the beginning, both of the studies identified uncertainty as a perception of a person which is influenced by the workplace.
Kuhlthau's theory defined cognitive aspect through the searchers' experiences using specific term "thoughts". The impact of "thought" has been recognized at different six stages of the information search process (ISP). Students’ thoughts changed from begin ambiguous to specific in the information search process. But the study revealed that half of the searchers did not reach a focused perspective of their topic at any time during the process due to the different affective, the cognitive and physical action of the searcher. Kuhlthau’s findings lead to an assumption that many students may have faced different situations of their cognitive abilities in terms of knowledge and skills. Those are being taken by this research to evaluate how far those elements make effects for library use patterns. The patterns made by the students are examined in the activities of libraries such as starting to search, tools and resources selections, locating materials and information etc. These library activities, though, have not been considered in the ISP model. Students’ knowledge and skills ability can be used to views as one major component of students’ patterns in libraries.
184.108.40.206 As an Anomaly
Users’ anomalous state of knowledge (ASK) has made a great impact on information search. When people search for information, there is an anomaly, namely a kind of gap or uncertainty of the knowledge regarded as a need necessity. The information search starts due to uncertainty (Belkin, 1978). It is quite similar to the visceral needs discussed by Taylor. Belkin’s basic motivator of information seeking is the needs of the user. If a user has anomalous state of knowledge then he/she tries to seek information. After finding the needs, the user evaluates whether the anomaly has been sorted out. If it fails, another ASK will be generated. The study detailed the steps of information seeking prior to the needs. (User has a problem that has to be solved), (User starts seeking from recognition of the inadequacy of knowledge), (User seeks to resolve information problem by searching for information), (“Pre-search” - interaction with human or computer intermediary), (“Pre-search”- formulation of search strategy, source selection and formulation of the query), (Searching), (Initial evaluation of results), (Reformulation of retrieved text by user and use of information)
Belkin uses the term anomaly for defining the users' knowledge levels at the information needs situation but not for the searching process. Such as, if the users are unable to specify what is the needed information to resolve the problem they have, that situation is labeled as the anomalous state of knowledge. If the information found is fit to resolve the problem, then the searching for information comes to an end. Then the anomaly is filed by the found information. Though the intention of ASK is to define the user's status of knowledge prior to the searching process, the same ASK situation could be expected through the patterns among students in library use. Belkin's’ ASK is a good parameter for studying individual activities.
The section 2.2 in this chapter evaluated issues of the grounds, concepts and approaches with particular regard to the cognitive aspect of a user in the information search process and usage of libraries. The review revealed the effects of cognition in the process of information searching. The cognitive metaphor implies a place for knowledge, skill of information search as a tangible object. Using the theoretical frameworks established by predecessors, this research found that users' cognitive ability could be used to express what the users know and what the users can do at the points of starting a search, resource/tools selections, use of library services & system, locating the information and the materials, and self-evaluation in library.
2.3 Library Use Patterns of Undergraduates and Others
Recent research studies have been carried out which examine how students behave at the points of looking for the information they need. Students could differently behave because of their learning courses (undergraduate or graduate), areas of disciplines (medicine, social science, arts, engineering etc.), academic years (juniors and seniors) gender (male and female), emotional experiences (certainty or uncertainty) and cognitive context (knowledge and skill etc.) which might cause different behaviours. There is a broad spectrum of research on user behavior studies across a variety of affecting variables that may address different patterns in libraries which help to increased library services.
Does the library use of undergraduates have different patterns as the result of differences in cognitive abilities? If so, what factors affect those patterns? The present paper examines how students' knowledge and skill are related to making patterns of library use. So this section discloses primarily on the studies of library use patterns of undergraduates in general and of the cognitive context which includes the basic affecting variables in this paper.
There are several studies on students' patterns of library use which have drawn a great deal of attention from early and present researchers. But there are only a few studies that emphasized the searcher's cognitive context. This section discusses a few of the most commonly-cited literature within the span of last two decades. Studies have generally focused the patterns in libraries from the points of usage context such as purposes of visits, frequency of visits, discipline-wise, patterns among academic years, cultural diversities etc. Studies on library use patterns from cognitive contexts such as the knowledge and skills are few in numbers. They are discussed in following the order (2.3.1 Use Patterns from Discipline Context, 2.3.2 Use Patterns among Academic Years, 2.3.3 Use Patterns from Cognitive Context).
2.3.1 Use Patterns from Discipline Context
Library use patterns could be expected from a different context. One of the ways is patterns among discipline areas of academic learning. Palmer (1991) introduced a few indications of the differences of disciplines on the process of information searching among biochemists, entomologists, and statisticians working at an agricultural research station and university medical library. From the representation of the three disciplines, a questionnaire was assigned according to their subjects areas and activities in information searching. Palmer assumed that medical and agricultural libraries have clear patterns in usage because of the different aspect of its population.
Information searching activities were designed under four areas; such as how they were in their effort to find information, (either only when they needed it or on a regular basis), attitude towards the quantity of information (general or subjective), ways of information collecting (references, offprints, photocopies), how relaxed or anxious they were in their attitude towards the undersupply or oversupply of information, how much they appeared for the information need, and how broadly they searched.
Out of 67 participants (32 Biochemist, 18 entomology, 7 statisticians), five specific user groups such as: "non-seekers"lone or wide rangers"unsettled or self-conscious seekers"confident collectors" and "hunters" were found by cluster analysis. Also, the study investigated to what extent those groups were active in searching for information and described their efforts in obtaining that information. Mostly statisticians acted as non-seekers and lone or wide rangers. In the unsettled group, eight biochemists, seven entomologists, and one statistician were included. But the study found that only the entomologists behaved as confident collectors. Hunters entirely consisted of biochemists.
A Judgment was made within the above areas and six categories were formulated. 1. Information overloads - operates an extensive but controlled information system, a large number of contacts, active gather, recipient from diverse sources, organized but flexible, broad interest and many strategies. 2. Information entrepreneurs - less reliant on formal sources also operates extensive personal information system. 3. Information hunters - goals were defined more narrowly. They have predictable patterns of information behavior, needs to feel in control and well organized. 4. Information pragmatists - usually responds to a direct need, not worried about control, lacks regular patterns of information behavior, but operates temporary strategies, e.g. in searching or organizing material when necessary. 5. Information plodders - seldom searchers for information in formal sources, rely on own knowledge and resources or those of others, unworried by the amount of information that is available. They never look for information and therefore no need to worry about control. 6. Information derelicts - no system for searching or organizing information. Apparently does not use or meet information overwhelmed by the quantity and gives up.
Those groups found through the cluster analysis clearly reflected coherent patterns of information search by disciplines. It further suggested investigating whether the similar groups exist in other organizations by subjects. The results seem to be making different user groups by disciplines, it did not focus the individual abilities and influences of knowledge and skill characteristics. Results concentrated information behavior was highly affected by the point of discipline areas of learning than individuals. The assumption of this study determines that the library usage in a subjective way is fairly common than distinguish among individuals. In a discipline context, library use patterns manifested wider interest in surface levels. But knowledge and skill might make deep diversities and divided individuals even within the discipline context.
Hiller (2002) conducted a survey to identify “How important the University of Washington libraries are among different disciplines areas of students”. It put in question whether the students have the same or different academic areas in their information need and library use at the University of Washington. The study found that the purposes of use did show both identical and significant differences between academic areas. Overall satisfaction and importance of the libraries to scholarly work did not indicate significant differences among disciplines. Significant differences were most pronounced in priorities, purposes, physical visits to the library, use of resources, ways of catalog use and impact of new technologies etc. Hiller found the students in the fields of science, engineering, and health science more likely to use the library remotely rather than visiting like students in humanities and social sciences. The importance of resource types by academic area, the electronic journals and print journals seem to be used for more than other resources such as books and archival resources among science and engineering students. Students' behavior has shown a positive correlation between the importance of resource types and the level of satisfaction with the library's provision of those resources.
Hiller has also taken steps forward to identify students’ patterns of libraries from different discipline areas of learning. Findings came from the priorities which students often made. Though the results produced differences among disciplines, it might constitute demand and preferences from subjective nature not the actual use patterns of individuals’ point of view. It could be assumed that Hiller’s findings of patterns in libraries in discipline context alone cannot explain the Individuals’ knowledge and skill attributes. Hiller’s coverage might have validity in resources preferences as pointed in the objectives. Correlation between the types of resources used and discipline differences might have obvious patterns.
Study of "Understanding Information Behaviour: How Do Students and Faculty Find Books?" after investing the members of the academic community use to identify the impact of e-books in UK higher education (Rowlands & Nicholas, 2008). A web survey was conducted at the University College London (UCL). The study found that the methods used by the academic community were strikingly patterned. These patterns were further confirmed by eight subject disciplines (Arts and Humanities, The Built Environment, Engineering Sciences, Law, Life Sciences, Maths and Physical Sciences, Medical and Clinical Sciences, Social and Historical Sciences), Academic status (undergraduates or graduates), and gender (male or female).
The study used eleven book discovery methods for the investigation categorized under four major areas.
1) Informal mode: high relevance on publishers' catalogs, book reviews, browsing in the bookshops, and talking to friends and colleagues.
2) Personal search mode: high reliance on commercial web-based tools (GOOGLE, AMAZON).
3) External library mode: high reliance on using other external library catalogs and other collections.
4) Institutional mode: high reliance on personal visits to UCL library using the UCL catalog and following up recommended readings.
From the four proposed “book discovery modes” a cluster analysis (Ward’s method) found seven clusters of groups and confirmed different patterns of discovering methods of finding books among gender, academic statuses and particularly on subject disciplines.
Cluster I: "Untouched by the Library" is 12% of total population. Among them, 99.4 % were male and dominated by 42.8% of graduates and staff 39.6%. They depend heavily on personal search modes and secondary informal modes of book discovery. They rarely visit the library or search the library catalog despite being drawn mainly from the more highly research-intensive graduate and academic staff categories. Typical members were male researchers in science or engineering.
Cluster II: "Young, Female, and Keen on Libraries" included 12%. The cluster mostly consisted of females 94.2% and was composed mainly of undergraduate or graduate students 93.9% in social or life sciences. They exhibited a high dependency on institutional mode, visiting the UCL library in person and using its catalog. They report average dependency on external libraries and, with the exception of visiting bookshops; they are the least "self-sufficient" of the seven clusters. Typical members were female students in the social and life sciences.
Cluster III: “Conventional Male Researcher” represented 18%. The group was exclusively male 100% and dominated by graduate students 53.5% and faculty staff 44.0%. They report a high level of dependence on intuitional library services and had a high level of trust in general search engines. Typical members were male researchers and cover most disciplines.
Cluster IV: "Conventional Male Undergraduate" included 13%. This group was also dominated by males 99.4%. They were highly depending on institutional provision and moderately self-sufficient. They were less dependent upon publishers' catalogs and book reviews. Typical members were male undergraduates and cover most disciplines.
Cluster V: “Young Female Life Scientists” dominated by 9%. This group is exclusively female 100% and entirely undergraduate 98.3%. This group was the most rounded group in the sense that it displayed both a high level of dependence on institutional library systems and was quite self-sufficient. Typical members were female undergraduates and medical or the life sciences are dominant.
Cluster VI: “Independent Female Researchers” represented 20% and majority among the seven clusters. Female graduate students 47.8% and faculty staff 40.4% were included. This group was the second lowest in personal visits to UCL or other libraries. They heavily used informal and personal search modes. Typical members were female researchers and mainly belong to medicine or the life sciences.
Cluster VII: “Traditional Scholars” 16%. Mostly female 99.5% dominated by graduates students 48.6% and undergraduates 38.5% from art and humanities 73.6%. They used other libraries a lot and heavily looked for materials through catalog search. But they had low interest in informal modes of book discovery. Also, they had a lack of interest in Google, Amazon, and other web services. Typical members were female students in art and humanities.
This study found significant differences among discipline areas of study, gender and academic status in the method of discovering books. The study used eleven locations which can be used to browse or access to books. The way of formulation cluster of groups by the different patterns of discovering methods of books was found from the surface elements of users' gender, academic statuses, and subject disciplines.
2.3.2 Library Use Patterns from the Context of Academic Years
“The University of Iowa Libraries’ Undergraduate User Needs Assessment” gave both library user and librarian an opportunity to engage in proactive dialogue aiming to measure the impact of libraries on its users (Clougherty, Forys, & Lyles, 1998). The objectives were to learn how undergraduates access library resources and services, to learn what library services, resources, and facilities undergraduates use for study and research, to identify undergraduate perceptions of library resources, to learn how satisfied undergraduates are with library resources and services.
The survey was divided into five sections: 1) General questions about the university libraries (library usage, purposes of use, queries about library resources, library services), 2) Main library departments (reference information desk, access services, information arcade, media services, 3) Library services (use of reference services, use of circulation services, access to web browsers etc.) 4) Overall user satisfaction (resources, services), 5) Demographics (class levels [Academic years], sex, age, housing [off or on campus], enrolment [full time or part time]). A survey consisting of seventy-eight forced-choice questions, three open-ended questions, and six demographic questions were used. Out of a total population of 17.908, a stratified random sample of approximately 10 percent (n=1.790) of the undergraduate population was drawn from the sample according to class levels (freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior) and college (Liberal Arts, Engineering, Nursing, and Business).
In the area of general questions about the university libraries, 72% students frequently visit libraries to study, 70% use the photocopiers, and 68% to borrow books respectively. They did queries about library resources and services too. About 70% seek assistance from library personnel and 56% meet colleagues for help. The usage of library printed handouts is by 31% and electronic library web tutorials by 20%. Seventy percent of them use public service desks. The ways of resource selection were different among students. Sixty-six percent directly use library catalogs (both online and card).
The users' satisfaction on resources and services were indicated different satisfaction. Among the resources used, 95% were satisfied with the printed handouts and 89% were satisfied with library card catalogs. But the significant indication was that 68% of them never use library explorer and 63% CD-ROM databases. There were only 3% dissatisfied users regarding the resources available for them in the library. Among the respondents who used the library services, 97% were satisfied with the services provided at the public service desk and 85% of them have frequently used them.
The study found that most of the undergraduates were also satisfied with library services. Seventy-nine percent of the majority agreed that the library offers the services they need. Students indicated that the library staff is helpful 77%, the library staff is courteous 70%, the library does a good job meeting their needs 66%, and the library has sufficient resources and materials 66%. Their dissatisfactions were indicated as regards physical facilities 50% and ability to locate the materials easily by 49%. The main focus of this study is students’ usage of resource and its satisfaction. Though the results cited several access ways to the library and its resources, it disclosed only the preferable ways by percentages.
A study of “A longitudinal study of undergraduates’ academic library experience” examined the library experiences of 1,046 of undergraduates during their first three years of college (Whitmire, 2001). The study assumed that differences in library use can be attributed to students at different academic years. Also, students underused certain library services and resources, in particular, academic years. Study addressed eleven variables: library as source of information, use of card or computer catalogue, whether they asked the librarian for help, use of computers in the library, developed a bibliography or set of references for use in a term paper or other reports, reading in reserve or reference section, using indexes to articles in journals, checked out books, finding materials by browsing in stacks, checking citations in things read, reading basic reference or documents. Overall, library experiences of undergraduate students were measured on a scale of "1 = Never", "2 = occasionally", "3 = Often" or "4 = Very Often". But the level of the eleven library experiences did not exceed 2.64 (mean) even for the third year of study.
Seven of the eleven library experiences increased during each successive year of the study, such as use of computers in the library, reading in reserve or reference section, using indexes to articles in journals, developed a bibliography or set of references for use in a term paper or other reports, finding materials by browsing in stacks, checking citations in things read, reading basic reference or documents. Only one library experience that is "asking the help of the librarian" declined and never increased. Using the computers in the library was an activity of high importance for undergraduates at all stages of their studies, achieving the highest level of activity for the second and third year students and the second highest score for the first year students. But the use of library catalogs was the most useful activity for first years and was the second most useful activity for second and third-year students. Using reference materials was the least popular activity engaged in by all class levels. However, library use for all of the academic library experiences in the study was generally low and did not exceed 2.64 (mean) even in the third year of study.
This study identified several patterns from eleven variables in library use which makes differences for the duration of students' academic years. Seniority helped to succeed in seven variables but it is quite clear that there are several variables yet to be increased among seniors. Some areas of knowledge developments increased during the consecutive academic years. Examination of library use was limited to three academic years. But the result of a use of libraries could be obviously differentiating individuals than academic years by their own information skills. Even the results of Whitmore indicated that library use has to decrease and increasing tendencies among different academic years it might confirm the assumption of cognitive differences this paper, though.
2.3.3 Use Patterns from Cognitive Context
Allen (1992) carried out his research to identify the influences of the cognitive context of university students in searching a CD-ROM index using eight tests from the Kit of Factor-Referenced Cognitive Test (Ekstrom, French & Dermen, 1976). The kit included 72 tests and referred to 23 search abilities. The study aimed to demonstrate the individual differences in the cognitive context of information that could affect their information retrieval performances. The study assumed that one of the ways of enhancing the usability of information systems is the identification of knowledge levels of users with features of the system. Allen selected four cognitive differences, as well as four differences in demographic characteristics. Perceptual speed had an effect on the quality of the searches and logical reasoning, verbal comprehension and spatial scanning abilities influenced search tactics. The study suggested that information search was deeply influenced by the users’ different levels of cognitive context in the above four areas.
Allen selected fifty students at the University of Illinois for the study. They were asked to indicate reasons, frequency, usefulness and results of index searches. The details about the students’ academic status, field of study, levels of study (undergraduate to graduate), age, gender, familiarity with the topic used in the search, frequency of use of computerized indexes, frequency of library use, and difficulty experienced with the search as a whole and with various aspects of the search were also gathered.
Participants who have higher verbal comprehension on keyword use understood the stimulating article better than participants with lower levels. This better understanding of the topic was one of the causes of the superior quality and quantity in the search expression used. Also, participants with low scores in logical reasoning were less selective in identifying potentially useful citation than those with higher scores.
Results showed how the knowledge levels of students interpreted as cognitive abilities can affect information retrieval and further suggested that additional research is required to investigate how far the cognitive context can influence the outcomes of information searchers. Allen's study recommended that practical designs are needed but pointed out that "it is easier to identify reliable effects for individual differences than to develop and test design features that will help users with different levels of abilities" (Allen, 1992, p.306). Such systems can contribute to the effective use of information retrieval systems for the people with different levels of cognitive abilities. Allen's angle "a searcher's cognitive ability" and focus of this paper have a similar assumption. In Allen's study, the relationships between cognitive abilities (knowledge) and retrieval performances (Perceptual speed, logical reasoning, verbal comprehension, and spatial scanning) indicated validity of more research on this context. Hence, this paper tries to understand what factors associated with the library use patterns among students with different cognitive context.
A study of the information search skill of undergraduate business students (a comparison between students in the United Kingdom and international students) found an effect on students' cognition in the information search process (Atkins & Ashcroft, 2003). The study aimed to understand the information search skill which is defined as "the ability to formulate information needs, locate, retrieve, and evaluate information" (Atkins & Ashcroft, 2003, p.4).
The survey concentrated on a comprehensive measurement of information skill. Students were asked to rate their skill on a five-point scale. Information skill was measured in three domains: affective, cognitive and sensory-motor domains. For the cognitive measurements, questions such as the ability to use keywords, use of databases, ability to evaluate information, and preparing bibliographic citations were selected.
The study found that there was a difference between native and non-native speakers in their searching abilities. Lack of knowledge in using Boolean operators inevitably has a negative impact on the effectiveness of their searches. But as far as students’ information skill was concerned, the main source of negative attitudes was their feeling unable to find information without help. 71% of UK students could find information without help but only 54% of international students did not expect help in searching for information. Both UK students 13% and international students 16% feel equally embarrassed about asking questions. UK students were more frustrated 65%, and at the same time less able to find information in the library 13%. International students, however, are less aware of the utility of research skills 23% in other areas of library use. Overall, international students have more positive attitudes to the library which might be explained by their motivation to succeed but there was no significant difference between the information skills of the two groups.
Effects of cognitive context in searching abilities between native and non-native library users indicated different results. But it is not apparent whether the search abilities were different within the group of native and non-native library users itself. This paper hopes that there are discrepancies within the same students groups in similar library search abilities.
The study of “the relative effects of knowledge, interest and confidence in assessing relevance” examined how different aspects of a searcher’s context in particular to their knowledge of a search topic, their interest in the search topic, their confidence in assessing relevance for a topic, affected the relevance judgments made and the searcher’s ability to predict which documents they will assess as being relevant (Ruthven, Baillie & Elsweiler, 2007).
The first aim investigated topic familiarity. The degree to which searcher is familiar with the topic of a search task is opposed to the task itself. It is interesting because more knowledge the searcher possesses, the more accurate the searcher can be about judging the relevance and previous research. It assumed that topic familiarity can affect the searcher's search strategy and actual behavior. The questions asked were to rate their prior knowledge into one of the three answers e.g. “expert/same as most people/almost nothing”. The most common responses given by the searchers were medium knowledge of search topic.
As the second aim, the study investigated the searcher’s interest and confidence in the topic of the search. If the searcher has confidence, that self-declared confidence lead to a more accurate search topic.
It was confirmed that the searcher’s personal contexts (their knowledge and attitudes towards a search task) affect how they judge relevant materials. The study found searchers with high self-declared knowledge regarding a search topic, high interest in the search topic or high confidence in search documents that tell more documents as relevant to a search than searchers with lower topical knowledge, interest and confidence. The result of this study focuses on the effects of knowledge, particularly on the search topic.
By way of example, along with the undergraduates’ library use patterns, a series of studies revealed undergraduates preferred to visit the library for various reasons (Toda, & Nagata, 2007; Nagata, Toda, & Kytomaki, 2008). The framework of the study in 2008 was a further development of the survey which hinted at the segmentation of students groups of library use with their possible educational outcomes in 2007 (Toda, & Nagata, 2007). At the first step, a focus group interview was conducted at the University of Mie and both interviews and surveys were carried out at the University of Keio in Japan. In the second step, the findings were further clarified with a sample from the University of Oulu in Finland and University of Nagoya in Japan. The objectives of the two studies were to understand students’ usage patterns of the library and their educational outcomes. At the very outset, the study formed a context of library use as an institute, for example;
“Some thought the library was indispensable for their study and others used it as a place where they could rest; chat with friends or just to kill time. While, as for the resources, some utilized them only for class assignments and others also for their own pleasure, their reading guided by their own whims. There were some who never checked out library materials and others whose sole purposes in visiting the library was to use the computers” (Nagata, 2008, p.4).
Next, the study formed a usage context within three elements; 1) user’s motive, 2) user’s library skills, and 3) other related elements that would be expected in such a setting, given the construct specification of the user behaviors. The model makes sense because motives and skills might have a highly positive relation with the more specific outcome.
Measures for the study came from six major areas which covered the three components of the hypothesized model. A questionnaire was used to gather data pertaining to the areas of (1) characteristics of the respondents, (2) frequency of library use, (3) attendance at library user education, (4) motivation for library use, (5) types of library use, and (6) outcomes of library use respectively.
The aspect of students' patterns came from usage context. The eight popular purposes of library use (for chatting, reading magazines, just for strolling, use as space, for resource use, for research purposes, group activities and PC use) were used for the analysis. Results of cluster analysis indicated that the students had identical features of library usage among the four groups of students. Learners as majority 66.2%, strollers 7.6%, extended users or socializes 6.4% and place and PC users 15.6% at the University of Keio. The study found strollers as rare visitors, but the other three groups could be seen in everyday library settings.
Interestingly, comparison of students’ patterns of library use at the four different universities in two different countries generally showed similarities, thus creating common groups like learners who had high scores in using materials, for research and as a place for information.
For new researchers, at the very outset, the theoretical implications (usage context) of Nagata and Toda of their studies included a demonstration of the importance of examining students in library use. In the results, they disclosed that students were not identical in the usage context and relationship between patterns of usage and outcomes.
- Quote paper
- Anura Karunanayake (Author), 2016, Cognitive Context. Paucity of Personal Traits in Information Search, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/324074