“Information Seeking Behavior in School Libraries” by Edmondson Teffeny Paper Critique

Arguments in support of the paper

There are several aspects from which one may look at a proposal or any other study material that touches on issues like information seeking. In this case, the researcher endeavours to present the various aspects of this issue and most importantly, he tries to integrate them into the typical occurrences that surround this whole subject. From a general point of view, the paper achieves a large scale, a level of what may be termed as the objective of the study.

To begin with, the researcher introduces an aspect of research that suggests that study behaviours are greatly influenced by the grade level of the information seeker. This is portrayed by his argument that the students at the lower level grades of education, such as kindergarten, might not have mastered the techniques of inquiry as a piece of information seeking mechanism; while on the other hand, students around the fifth grade might have a very inquisitive mind. This kind of interrogation gives the proposal an upper hand as a tool that is seeking to understand information research techniques in that, it helps to understand why information seekers at certain levels may behave in a given way. The proposal, therefore, becomes relevant as its suggestions are practical.

Further, the proposal brings into the discussion the very important angle of libraries and librarians. Informatively speaking, we cannot hold a debate on the subject of education, information and study habits, without invoking libraries as vital information centres. The researcher intends to use various characteristics that may be exhibited by investigating students’ behaviour concerning the libraries. The mention of librarians brings their role into the critical review, which is a crucial aspect since they contribute to the whole system in a manner that cannot be ignored. It is noted that a key contribution, in one way or another, to the whole information seeking system is the belief and the feelings of the library specialists. This contribution is worth embracing since it tends to explain how a librarian’s point of view may influence study behaviour or how his beliefs may determine what he advocates (Kuthlthau, pp. 19-25).

We are further introduced to a very interesting angle where the researcher notes that users of public libraries tend to exhibit more confidence than their counterparts in school or academic libraries (Case). Bringing such a debate forward helps us to investigate and question whether, in essence, students would benefit more from reading in an environment that does not necessarily reflect academic characteristics. On the same note, we may want to look at the improvements that can be done to these public libraries to make them, even more, accommodating if indeed they seem to uplift the confidence of the users. This is a hidden ideology, which, unless a debate is initiated, may remain untouched for long. Therefore, this proposal is a highly appreciated piece.

Another thing that credibly pops up in this study is the significance and the contribution of the theories that exist on this subject, such as the Imposed Query Model. The presentation of this model and the findings highlights the use of various techniques to provoke or instil creative and productive information seeking techniques especially in children. The theory seems to underline the fact that participation of information seekers in a given debate creates the urge and to gather as much information as possible in that particular subject and this participation helps them to retain more. In addition, the theory describes the processes of six developmental stages that questions tend to go through. This suggests that the question posed is constantly mutating or progressing through different stages which help us to understand the importance of framing the question in a manner that the respondent will appreciate and be able to act accordingly.

There is also the mention of the background of the information seeker. In common human knowledge, we may argue that the beliefs of people and their backgrounds present the backdrop upon which all other aspects of their lives are dependent. In this study, this can be interpreted where the introductory bits the student gets in life will be expected to influence how he or she horns and develops study skills, or at the same time dictate why they may be missing in an individual (Kuthlthau, pp. 19-25). Therefore, the proposal would be used to advise a community on the ways that affect the outcome of their overall academic level.

The methodology used in this study is plausible since it is inclusive of many elements necessary to enhance the discussion on information seeking. The researcher seeks to involve three school media centres that are backed up by specialized librarians. This environment will present the researcher with a platform that has the student, who is presumed to be the information seeker, the library and the librarian who is expected to give insight into the various patterns that he or she may have observed over time. The student will most importantly give information on the various study methods they incorporate. This way, it might be easy to compare and contrast the most effective information-seeking methodologies applied by different groups. The libraries as resource centres are no doubt an important aspect of this topic. They may be looked at in terms of space and even the environment they provide as study centres. The paper thus raises support for the three important pillars of information seeking which are, the student, the library and the librarian and by extension the question imposer.

Points of improvement

Although this paper presents a great deal of information that is relevant and helpful to the educationists, students and library officers at large, there occur some deficiencies in its overall objective. First, the study emphasizes the skills that may be instilled in a student either from their home background or in school and don’t make mention of other characteristics like the student’s human nature. The argument here is that a student does not necessarily rely on what has been instilled in them to cultivate a positive information-seeking mechanism (Oliver and Oliver, pp. 519-525).

At the same time, the study makes mention of the library as a critical resource centre but fails to inquire about other factors that may influence the library, such as the space available, and how that may influence study behaviours. This can be looked at from different angles where the availability and lack of space at different intervals in the day may determine whether an information seeker can use the library or not. In addition, the paper doesn’t address the idea of other external factors that may influence a reading culture such as the existence of a library or lack of it within a given locality. In an environment where the library is within the vicinity, positive behaviours of information seeking are likely to be easily cultivated, unlike when there may be no library. The role of the teacher has not been adequately demonstrated in this analysis. The writer directs his focus on the student and the librarian and leaves out the issues of the teacher who provokes the question that the student seeks to investigate or seek information on.

The sense and relevance of the paper

After going through this whole process, one may inquisitively ask how relevant the paper is or put it in another way, one may ask whether, in essence, the paper makes any sense at all. We must agree that this paper provides a sensible platform that may inform a debate on various study habits. It is to be observed that by presenting what could have been otherwise hidden topics, the population becomes more informed and more alert. For instance, the realization that parents to some extent play an important role in shaping the habits through which they seek information (Wilson). This would help parents themselves to build in these students, impressive study habits and this would go a long way in improving their academic performance.

The presentation of public libraries as centres that seem to boost the confidence of the students regarding study habits primarily means that a community would measure the extent to which these institutions are significant to them, and thus come up with proposals on how to improve them on realizing their importance. The increase of these institutions may be interpreted to mean that there would be a more informed society or a society that has a sizeable number of educated personalities.

By far and large, this proposal seems to have captured the wider objective of creating awareness and arousing debate on study behaviours. Generally, people talk about issues because they have been brought to their attention and this paper initiates debate on these subjects to some extent and therefore is a relevant tool for educationists, parents and students of all calibres.

Works Cited

  1. Case, Donald O. Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior. Boston, MA: Elsevier Academic Press, 2007. Print.
  2. Kuthlthau, Carol Collier. “Information Search Process: A Summary of Research and Implications for School Library Media Programs”. School Library Media Quarterly, 18 (1989): 19-25. Print.
  3. Oliver Ron and Helen Oliver. “Using Context to Promote Learning from Information-Seeking Tasks”. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 48 (1997): 519-526. Print.
  4. Wilson, Thomas D. “Information Seeking Behavior”. Special Issue on Information Science Research, 3.2 (2000): 50-55.