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Understanding the information literacy experiences of EFL (English as a foreign language) students

Nicole Johnston (University College London in Qatar, Doha, Qatar)
Helen Partridge (Department of Information Systems, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)
Hilary Hughes (Department of Information Systems, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 10 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline research that explores the information literacy experiences of English as a foreign language (EFL) students. The question explored in this research was: how do EFL students experience information literacy?

Design/methodology/approach

This study used phenomenography, a relational approach to explore the information literacy experiences of EFL students. Phenomenography studies the qualitatively different ways a phenomenon is experienced in the world around us.

Findings

This research revealed that EFL students experienced information literacy in four qualitatively different ways. The four categories revealed through the data were: process, quality, language and knowledge. This research found that language impacted on EFL students’ experiences of information literacy and revealed that EFL students applied various techniques and strategies when they read, understood, organised and translated information.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted in a specific cultural and educational context; therefore, the results might not reflect the experiences of EFL students in other cultural or educational contexts.

Practical implications

The findings from this research offer an important contribution to information literacy practice by providing important insights about EFL students’ experiences and perceptions of information and learning that can be used to inform curriculum development in second language learning contexts.

Originality/value

There is currently a lack of research using a relational approach to investigate EFL students’ experiences of information literacy. There is also limited research that explores the impact language has on information literary and learning in EFL or English as a second language (ESL) contexts.

Keywords

Citation

Johnston, N., Partridge, H. and Hughes, H. (2014), "Understanding the information literacy experiences of EFL (English as a foreign language) students", Reference Services Review, Vol. 42 No. 4, pp. 552-568. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-05-2014-0015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited