Understanding the millennials: updating our knowledge about students

Wendy Holliday (Coordinator of Library Instruction, at the Utah State Libraries, Logan, Utah, USA)
Qin Li (PhD Student, Department of Instructional Technology, and Graduate Research Assistant, at the Utah State Libraries, Logan, Utah, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 1 December 2004


Brings together recent research on undergraduate information behavior, including preliminary findings of a qualitative study testing Kuhlthau's Information Search Process (ISP) model. The main methods include a literature review of undergraduate attitudes and information behavior and a qualitative study of 35 undergraduates. The data were coded into the original ISP model to test how it holds up with a new generation of students. Finds that the Millennial Generation increasingly turns to the web rather than the library as its primary information resource and also that the ISP model holds up for many of the students in the study. The easy access to information, however, suggests some changes to the model. It enables some students to skip steps in the process, especially focus formulation, because many students stop after their preliminary searches, thinking that they have completed the research process. The study is a qualitative study with a small sample, so findings cannot be generalized. The findings are also preliminary. The paper brings together a wide range of literature and can provide instruction librarians with a more coherent and updated view of the Millennial Generation in order to improve instruction for this group of students.



Holliday, W. and Li, Q. (2004), "Understanding the millennials: updating our knowledge about students", Reference Services Review, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 356-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/00907320410569707

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