Wrangling the literature: quietly contributing to HDR completions
AuthorWarburton, Jennifer; Macauley, Peter
Source TitleAustralian Academic & Research Libraries
PublisherTaylor & Francis
University of Melbourne Author/sWarburton, Jennifer
AffiliationMelbourne Students & Learning
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2014 Australian Library & Information Association
Many Higher Degree by Research candidates find the experience of searching the literature overwhelming and stressful. Experienced researchers draw on deep disciplinary knowledge, prior experience, and their networks to locate relevant information and sources. Inexperienced researchers may lack access to internal roadmaps of terms, authors and methodologies and require informed guidance. Advanced information literacy is a critical factor for student success, particularly to support the literature review process, and the need for effective information management skills has never been greater. The quality of doctoral candidates’ literature reviews, and their ability to undertake substantive and ‘do-able’ research is linked. Whilst do-it-yourself ICT and ‘Google-like’ search engines have led to easier information access, are HDR students equipped to effectively navigate through, and manage the plethora of research sources available? This paper shares findings and recommendations of a case study profiling PhD candidate usage of the University of Melbourne Library’s research consultation service. The study explored whether consultations conducted at the ‘point of need’ make a difference in the early stages of PhD candidature and questioned whether consultations contribute to improved research ability and successful outcomes. The paper also questions assumptions made by candidates and supervisors in relation to information-related research skills.
Keywordsresearch consultations; PhDs; doctoral students; PhD candidates; outcomes; completions; ‘point of need’; HDRs; academic libraries; librarians
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