Understanding Undergraduate Engineering Student Information Access and Needs: Results from a Scoping Review
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To the authors knowledge this is the first review to examine the current body of research on how engineering students access, use, and understand information; identify gaps in the literature, and how this can be used to support information literacy education in the engineering disciplines. Engineering students are required to create, problem solve, and improve, using engineering principles to develop their skills in technical, environmental, socioeconomic and political aspects of the engineering process. They are increasingly faced with the availability of rapidly shifting information types, which are gathered from sources like Google and Reddit. Finding and interpreting such information, even when found correctly through sources outside traditional research boundaries (technical documents found online vs. peer review articles through a library catalog), creates a disconnect between students and the desire of librarians or faculty to teach traditional research and information seeking skills. A scoping review was conducted using the Arksey and O’Malley modified framework. Six databases focusing on information, education, and engineering research were searched (LISA, ERIC full-text, ASEE, ScienceDirect, EducationSource, and Scopus). Papers were included if they addressed engineering student information seeking behaviors or needs. Studies that focused on social science or humanities students were excluded. The data were examined to find methodological trends, research areas, gaps in knowledge, and key findings. This review included 44 articles in the final review. Analysis grouped research into four emerging themes: Student information behavior mirrors that of professionals; Design thinking as a guiding force for information behavior; Design work requires the use of a specialized information sources; Methodological and Theoretical approaches. Results demonstrate a significant gap in knowledge around information seeking behavior specific to engineering students. Research into this area should be developed to be more inclusive and diverse, which will help increase recruitment and support of underrepresented groups, and overall will improve student success in engineering. Additional research should be conducted to validate or confirm previous findings, build on existing assessment protocols, develop new protocols and methodologies, and explore the application of new theoretical frameworks. There should be a focus in engaging cross-disciplinary stakeholders in the research process.
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Kathryn Mercer, Kari Weaver, Ariel Stables-Kennedy (2019). Understanding Undergraduate Engineering Student Information Access and Needs: Results from a Scoping Review. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14781