Information-Seeking Processes of Fourth Grade Students Using the Internet for a School Assignment
By: Patricia Lynn Barrett
Published: 02/08/2012
Uploaded: 11/02/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2012 (February) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: Information Seeking, Internet, reading, students

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Description/Abstract: The size and breadth of the Internet has increased the need for effective searching strategies for young children. When students learn in technology rich environments the need for effective search strategies increases. The purpose of this study was to examine the information-seeking processes of fourth grade students using the Internet for a school assignment and identify patterns and themes that emerged from the data. The participants in this study were 13 fourth grade students of mixed abilities. The study took place in an elementary school library. This qualitative study used multiple data collection methods which included think-aloud observations, interviews, think-afters, final projects and Independent Reading Level assessment scores. The children were asked to think aloud while using the Internet. Their comments and their computer screen were video-taped while students verbally described their actions and thoughts during their Internet
searches.

The transcribed search session were coded for themes and patterns. This study
sought to explore three research questions: 1) How do fourth grade students proceed
through the information-seeking process when using the Internet for a school iv assignment? 2) Is it possible to identify what role reading level plays in the online
information-seeking process? 3) Do other factors facilitate or impede information seeking when searching the Internet for a school assignment? The study revealed that all 13 students used Google to search for information; low level readers described reading online as a positive experience and a number of individual factors such as filtering, assignment questions, search engine tools, and age appropriate websites played a part in search strategies. The study offers thoughts on how young students use the Internet and suggestions for further research in the areas of collaborative teacher and librarian lesson creation, website evaluation and identifying what entices low level readers to want to use the Internet. There are implications for training students in developing skills for evaluation and synthesizing information that is gathered from the Internet.