Monday, March 26, 2012

IR > Study of the Information Search Behaviour of the Millennial Generation

Arthur Taylor / Computer Information Systems, College of Business Administration, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA

Introduction. Members of the millennial generation (born after 1982) have come of age in a society infused with technology and information. It is unclear how they determine the validity of information gathered, or whether or not validity is even a concern. Previous information search models based on mediated searches with different age groups may not adequately describe the search behaviours of this generation.
Method. The longitudinal study discussed here examined the information behaviour of undergraduate college students who were members of the millennial generation. Data were collected from the students using surveys throughout an information search process as part of an assigned research project.
Analysis. Quantitative analysis was carried out on the data, which related to 80 individual subjects and evaluation of 758 documents.
Results. Statistically significant findings suggest that millennial generation Web searchers proceed erratically through an information search process, make only a limited attempt to evaluate the quality or validity of information gathered, and may perform some level of 'backfilling' or adding sources to a research project before final submission of the work.
Conclusions. These findings indicate that the search behaviour of millennial generation searchers may be problematic. Existing search models are appropriate; it is the execution of the model by the searcher within the context of the search environment that is at issue.
Thanks to my Scottish colleague Roddy MacLeod !

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