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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 26 April 2018

Andrew D. Madden, Sheila Webber, Nigel Ford and Mary Crowder

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between preferred choice of school subject and student information behaviour (IB).

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between preferred choice of school subject and student information behaviour (IB).

Design/methodology/approach

Mixed methods were employed. In all, 152 students, teachers and librarians participated in interviews or focus groups. In total, 1,375 students, key stage 3 (11-14 years) to postgraduate, responded to a questionnaire. The research population was drawn from eight schools, two further education colleges and three universities. Insights from the literature review and the qualitative research phase led to a hypothesis which was investigated using the questionnaire: that students studying hard subjects are less likely to engage in deep IB than students studying soft subjects.

Findings

Results support the hypothesis that preferences for subjects at school affect choice of university degree. The hypothesis that a preference for hard or soft subjects affects IB is supported by results of an analysis in which like or dislike of maths/ICT is correlated with responses to the survey. Interviewees’ comments led to the proposal that academic subjects can be classified according to whether a subject helps students to acquire a “tool of the Mind” or to apply such a tool. A model suggesting how IB may differ depending on whether intellectual tools are being acquired or applied is proposed.

Practical implications

The “inner logic” of certain subjects and their pedagogies appears closely linked to IB. This should be considered when developing teaching programmes.

Originality/value

The findings offer a new perspective on subject classification and its association with IB, and a new model of the association between IB and tool acquisition or application is proposed, incorporating the perspectives of both teacher and student.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 74 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1993

David Ellis, Nigel Ford and Frances Wood

The project was designed to provide a framework for a comprehensive user evaluation of both software packages and hypertext environments. User evaluation constituted an…

Abstract

The project was designed to provide a framework for a comprehensive user evaluation of both software packages and hypertext environments. User evaluation constituted an integral part of the design and development process. The learning packages and hypertext systems were evaluated in terms of the extent to which they provide flexibility for learners to follow their preferred learning styles. Evaluation was carried out in relation to: (1) hypertext packages; (2) learning styles and learning outcomes; and (3) system design. Two sets of learning experiments were conducted. In the first, the package related to ‘1992’ — the Single European Market—was tested with postgraduate MBA and Information Studies students, whose individual learning approaches were assessed. In the second, the package was in the field of food and wine and was tested with further education students on a catering course. Those with a holist predisposition strongly favoured the use of global features such as the map. On the other hand, serialists preferred the rapid access allowed by the index. The ‘Wine and Food’ experiment, with a smaller sample, produced no significant findings to reinforce the ‘1992’ results. However, there was an interesting positive correlation (though not statistically different) between field dependence and performance on the learning test. Cognitive styles were demonstrated to be a significant component of individual behaviour within the hypertext environment. Providing a variety of tools optimised for preferred modes of usage creates a rough equality of overall task‐related performance between those with differing cognitive styles, and allows the user to evolve an appropriate strategy for effective performance. The ‘lost in hyperspace’ phenomenon was rarely evident and may be eliminated by improved semantic content in navigational aids. Hypertext has been confirmed as a useful medium for searching, learning and recall, but must include as many alternative modes of usage as possible within the design of a particular system.

Details

The Electronic Library, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-0473

Article
Publication date: 21 June 2022

Sarah Hargreaves, Laura Sbaffi and Nigel Ford

This paper both supports previous findings relating to, and presents new insights into: the information needs and the information seeking processes of a sample of informal…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper both supports previous findings relating to, and presents new insights into: the information needs and the information seeking processes of a sample of informal caregivers of people with dementia (in relation to their own needs and the interrelated needs of the people they are caring for); the extent to which such information needs are and are not being met; and the factors facilitating and hindering access to the right information.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a qualitative approach in the form of a thematic analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a sample of 20 informal caregivers from a range of different age groups, genders and caring roles.

Findings

Thematic analysis identified significant informational challenges, with a common perception that information seeking was onerous, requiring a proactive approach. Further challenges arose from a perceived lack of focus on carer needs coming up against the boundaries of professional knowledge and inconsistent information provision across the sample. Distance carers faced specific issues. A second theme of negative impacts described burdens arising from: difficulties in accessing information from a complex array of support services closure or change in services and unfulfilled information needs. Participants employed strategies to enable access to information, for example, being open about their caring role; and building formal or informal support networks. It is important to address emotional as well as cognitive dimensions of information needs.

Practical implications

This research highlights a need for health and social care, practice and policy to acknowledge and address information needs of this diverse population and build resilience. Above all, information seeking and sharing must be understood within the context of the emotional impact of caring, and recognition of these twin needs is crucial.

Originality/value

Whilst previous research has focussed on identifying specific needs and knowledge acquisition at cross-sections, a more holistic understanding of experiences is underexplored. This approach is needed to take into account broader contexts, diversity of experiences and different caring roles, e.g. primary and secondary carers, and in situ and distance carers.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1994

Nigel Ford, Frances Wood and Christina Walsh

Sixty‐seven searchers carried out 275 searches, both with and without postings information, of a LISA CDROM. This provided an opportunity to investigate the effect of…

Abstract

Sixty‐seven searchers carried out 275 searches, both with and without postings information, of a LISA CDROM. This provided an opportunity to investigate the effect of cognitive styles on searching behaviour which has substantial implications both for the teaching of searching and for search system design. Subjects were tested for field‐dependence/ field‐independence and for Comprehension/Operation/ Versatile learning styles. Statistically significant differences in both searching behaviour and search outcomes were obtained by those with different learning styles, with and without postings information. These results are presented and implications for training are discussed.

Details

Online and CD-Rom Review, vol. 18 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1353-2642

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Xuguang Li, Andrew Cox and Nigel Ford

The purpose of this paper is to develop a content analysis framework and from that derive a process model of knowledge construction in the context of virtual product user…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a content analysis framework and from that derive a process model of knowledge construction in the context of virtual product user communities, organization sponsored online forums where product users collaboratively construct knowledge to solve their technical problems.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a deductive and qualitative content analysis of discussion threads about solving technical problems selected from a series of virtual product user communities. Data are complemented with thematic analysis of interviews with forum members.

Findings

The research develops a content analysis framework for knowledge construction. It is based on a combination of existing codes derived from frameworks developed for computer-supported collaborative learning and new categories identified from the data. Analysis using this framework allows the authors to propose a knowledge construction process model showing how these elements are organized around a typical “trial and error” knowledge construction strategy.

Practical implications

The research makes suggestions about organizations’ management of knowledge activities in virtual product user communities, including moderators’ roles in facilitation.

Originality/value

The paper outlines a new framework for analysing knowledge activities where there is a low level of critical thinking and a model of knowledge construction by trial and error. The new framework and model can be applied in other similar contexts.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 73 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Peter Willett

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Abstract

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 70 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Article
Publication date: 1 July 2001

Nigel Ford

A series of seven empirical studies conducted in Sheffield lend support to the notion that learners do spontaneously display styles of information processing behaviour…

Abstract

A series of seven empirical studies conducted in Sheffield lend support to the notion that learners do spontaneously display styles of information processing behaviour originally identified by Pask and Scott, that even versatile postgraduate students are susceptible to the effects of matching and mismatching of teaching and learning styles, and that the arena in which these learning styles may be observed extends beyond learning to information seeking activity including database searching. Much research is still to be done to resolve the enigma of learning styles. However, arguably Pask’s time has come in the sense that current computing software and educational infrastructure now allow with relative ease the testing of the potential of Pask’s constructs using large samples of students, and the realisation of this potential in the development and delivery of mainstream teaching and learning resources.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 30 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2004

Nigel Ford

Based on a review of constructs that have been the subject of both educational and information science research, a model of learning‐related information behaviour is…

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Abstract

Based on a review of constructs that have been the subject of both educational and information science research, a model of learning‐related information behaviour is developed. The model details components of such behaviour, including: basic information processes, information processing types and information processing approaches; and factors affecting information behaviour relating to educational environments (in particular, learning objectives) and mental (including cognitive and affective) states. The complexity of information needs and associated relevance judgements implied by the model are discussed, as are implications for the provision of cognitively and affectively ergonomic access to information, and for research into learning‐related information behaviour.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 60 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Nigel Ford, Dave Miller, Alan O’rourke, Jane Ralph, Edward Turnock and Andrew Booth

The emergence of evidence‐based medicine has implications for the use and development of information retrieval systems which are not restricted to the area of medicine…

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Abstract

The emergence of evidence‐based medicine has implications for the use and development of information retrieval systems which are not restricted to the area of medicine. ‘Evidence‐based’ practice emphasises the retrieval and application of high quality knowledge in order to solve real‐world problems. However, information seeking to support such evidence‐based approaches to decision making and problem solving makes demands on retrieval systems which they are not well suited at present to satisfy. A number of approaches have been developed in the field of medicine that seek to address these limitations. The extent to which such approaches may be applied to other areas is discussed, as are their limitations.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 55 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 February 1995

John Kirriemuir and Nigel Ford

The authors describe how an existing course in cataloguing for postgraduate students of librarianship at the University of Sheffield's Department of Information Studies…

Abstract

The authors describe how an existing course in cataloguing for postgraduate students of librarianship at the University of Sheffield's Department of Information Studies was modified to include practical work on cataloguing electronic resources. The students were instructed to search the Internet for resources associated with some topic, and to design a cataloguing and classifying system for these resources. Each system was implemented as a collection of World‐Wide Web (WWW) pages, which have been installed on the Department's WWW site for global viewing.

Details

VINE, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0305-5728

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