Information Needs, Information behaviour, and Scholarly Information Literacy amongst PhD Students: An Interview-Based Study
Other, 2017

This Pecha Kucha presents the results of the second part of a research project mapping PhD students’ information needs and behaviour at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. The study also covers the topic of scholarly information literacy defined as the information-related skills, abilities and competences needed to achieve the PhD degree and develop as a researcher (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2016). The findings from the first part of this project were presented at ECIL 2016 (Johansson & Schirone, 2016). The basis for this presentation is one pilot and nine semi-structured interviews. The interviews were conducted with doctoral students from the departments of Computer Science, Chemistry, Technology Management, Architecture, Applied Physics and Applied Mechanics and were 45 minutes long. Amongst the respondents was also an industrial PhD student (i.e., employed at a private company) who provided useful insights on the subject of information literacy in the workplace. The questions in the interview guide were semi-structured and mirrored the online survey conducted for part one of this project. The different sections in the interview covered topics such as demographics, library use, how to review the literature, publishing, Open Science, how to stay up-to-date and patents as an information source. The interviews were fully transcribed using speech-to-text converter software and imported in the qualitative analysis software NVivo for coding. We clustered the most recurring codes into main themes for the subsequent text analysis (Sundin, 2008; Pilerot, 2015; Pilerot and Limberg 2011). Our presentation will be a visual interpretation of the central themes which emerged from the data analysis. Dominant findings from the interviews include, but are not limited to, the following: (a) PhD students regard personal contacts with peer researchers and supervisors as highly important; (b) conferences are valuable information-sharing venues; (c) young researchers are affected by information overload which results in current awareness tools and services being unsubscribed; and (d) PhD students would benefit from additional research data literacy instructions. References Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education. Retrieved from Johansson, C., & Schirone, M. (2016). Information Needs and Behaviour of PhD students at Chalmers University of Technology: A Survey. Pecha-Kucha presented at the The European Conference on Information Literacy 2016, October 10-13, Prague. Pilerot, O. (2015). Information sharing in the field of design research. In Proceedings of ISIC, the Information Behaviour Conference, Leeds, 2-5 September, 2014: Part 2, (paper isic26). Retrieved from Pilerot, O., & Limberg, L. (2011). Information sharing as a means to reach collective understanding A study of design scholars' information practices. Journal of Documentation, 67(2), 312-333. doi:10.1108/00220411111109494 Sundin, O. (2008). Negotiations on information-seeking expertise - A study of web-based tutorials for information literacy. Journal of Documentation, 64(1), 24-44. doi:10.1108/00220410810844141

PhD students

scholarly information literacy


Christina Johansson

Chalmers Library

Marco Schirone

Chalmers Library

Subject Categories

Information Studies

Other Social Sciences

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