Information-seeking processes among primary school children in Australia and Malaysia

Mohamed Shuhidan, S 2013, Information-seeking processes among primary school children in Australia and Malaysia, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business Information Technology and Logistics, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Information-seeking processes among primary school children in Australia and Malaysia
Author(s) Mohamed Shuhidan, S
Year 2013
Abstract Interest in information behaviour and information seeking has encompassed the school context. As the Internet has become one of the most important sources of information in supporting primary children’s learning environments, information behaviour and information seeking by children has become a key issue that requires more in-depth research. Research in the present study was carried out in Malaysia and Australia. This research shows how children seek information within a school context, particularly the processes taken for information seeking. The research also identifies the challenges faced by school children in seeking information from the Internet. The research adapted Kuhlthau’s (1993) model of the six stages of the information search process – initiation, selection, exploration, formulation, collection and presentation – in order to address the research objectives.

The research involved three phases of data collection. The first phase involved a broad survey (quantitative data) in order to allow generalisation of results from a primary school population to identify the usage, knowledge and challenges of using the Internet in the school setting. The next phase was observation. As the research focused on the information-seeking processes undertaken by primary school children, observation was the best way to carry out the investigation. It involved observation of children seeking information from the Internet as they performed information-seeking tasks in 20-minute sessions. Three sets of tasks were set. The observations were aided by the use of a checklist and note taking. The checklist was based on the Kuhlthau (1993) model of information seeking, and the note taking served as a memory aid that contained extensive detail from the observations. The final phase of the research involved interviews (qualitative data) with the teachers, directed at determining the primary school children’s information behaviour and how they undertook information seeking in the school settings.

The research provides an understanding of information-seeking processes among primary school children and makes recommendations for information technology specialists on the design elements of information retrieval systems for primary school children based on the behavioural and information-seeking approaches used by the children and their teachers. A modified model of information-seeking processes is proposed. These modifications incorporate the use of the Internet in seeking information in the school environment.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Business Information Technology and Logistics
Keyword(s) Information-seeking process
Internet
Information Behaviour
Primary School Children
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Created: Thu, 13 Feb 2014, 11:27:23 EST by Brett Fenton
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