Research together: exploring students' collaborative information behaviour in group work settings
Proceedings of RAILS - Research Applications, Information and Library Studies, 2018
University of Borås
School of Science
Introduction: While higher education institutions place considerable emphasis on developing students' teamwork skills by designing group projects, the literature shows that employers are still not satisfied with graduates' collaborative work skills. Hence, this research aimed to explore how students collaboratively identify the information need, gather and exchange information and use information to complete their group assignments. Method: This qualitative research used Straussian grounded theory. Ten semi-structured focus group interviews were held, and participants were asked to discuss their experience of undertaking group assignments. Analysis: Data analysis was based on constant comparative method to analyse and then categorise research data to identify emergent types of students' information behaviour in university group context. Results: Dividing the task is a common strategy considering the nature of the assignment which leads to individual information seeking. Those who valued shared awareness of the group's overall progress maintained their active communication throughout the process which was highly beneficial when they integrated separate parts to prepare a coherent assignment. Conclusion: This research contributes to understanding of students' collaborative information behaviour in terms of activities, strategies and difficulties they face and also provides better insights into how to reorient group assignments to enhance the academic collaborative environment.