Searching and sourcing online academic literature: Comparisons of doctoral students and junior faculty in education

Ching-Ting Hsin (Department of Early Childhood Education, National Hsinchu University of Education, Hsinchu, Taiwan)
Ying-Hsueh Cheng (Language Center, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan)
Chin-Chung Tsai (Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 14 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore educational researchers’ online literature searching and sourcing strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a multiple-case study approach, the authors conducted interviews and compared strategies employed by three groups of researchers: less-experienced doctoral students, experienced doctoral students, and junior faculty.

Findings

The results showed that the three groups differed in four searching strategies and two sourcing strategies. The former included: using and modifying keywords, doing advanced searches to narrow down or expand results, chaining, and networking to retrieve literature, while the latter consisted of: evaluating and selecting multiple-source articles, and self-monitoring the multiple-source searching process. The findings also revealed that the experienced doctoral students and junior faculty were able to adopt searching and sourcing strategies flexibly and simultaneously for the purpose of determining more relevant and useful sources. The findings suggest that these researchers, especially the less-experienced students, need specialized training to acquire sourcing strategies in order to critically evaluate relevant information or scholarly work to fulfill their research purposes.

Originality/value

Information seeking, an essential part of scholars’ work, has been widely examined across disciplines. However, few studies have explored scholars’ searching and sourcing behaviors for online academic literature. This study fulfilled the research gap.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (Grant Number MOST 101-2511-S-011-003-MY3).

Citation

Hsin, C.-T., Cheng, Y.-H. and Tsai, C.-C. (2016), "Searching and sourcing online academic literature: Comparisons of doctoral students and junior faculty in education", Online Information Review, Vol. 40 No. 7, pp. 979-997. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-11-2015-0354

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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