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A Content Analysis of Strategies and Tactics Observed Among MLIS Students in an Online Searching Course

ANITA L. ONDRUSEK, XIAOAI REN and CHANGWOO YANG

Abstract


Online searching is a skill that all professional programs educating librarians consider an essential part of their curricula. However, investigations of online searching behavior have centered almost exclusively on end users, and there have been no recent formal studies that explore the online searching behaviors of MLIS students. In this study, the researchers conducted a qualitative content analysis by coding documents collected from assignments in an MLIS online searching course. The analysis used typologies derived from previous research that identified specific strategies and tactics employed in information retrieval. Taken as a whole, the results suggested that there are signposts instructors can expect to encounter when evaluating strategies and tactics in online searching assignments. The typologies provided the vocabulary needed to classify those strategies and tactics—a key ingredient for future studies of online searching performance.

Keywords


Database searching; Electronic information resource searching; Online information resource searching; Library and Information Science Education; Content analysis; Qualitative research

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