A Framing of Digital Search Space

Charles D Dziuban, Flora McMartin, Glenda Morgan, Joshua Morrill, Patsy Moskal, Alan Wolf


This study sought to identify the underlying dimensions that contemporary students use to frame their digital search strategies. Responses to a validated and nationally distributed survey protocol were analyzed using image analysis to portray the structure of digital search under two conditions: high stakes – when encountering a difficult problem for class, and low stakes – where a student simply was interested in a topic. In addition, students described their educational climate when using digital information, thereby framing their personal search geographies. The climate resolved itself into: educational beliefs, self-regulated learning, self-confidence and learning strategies. High stakes search framed itself into: seek expertise, internet search, search course materials and ask friends. Lower stakes search reduced to: cast about, ask friends and search internet showing a reduced dimensionality. The authors conclude that search space and its attendant strategies find meaning through embowing student traits, academic resources and networked information in a push and pull environment. 


Digital Search; Framing; Personal Geographies; Educational Beliefs; Undergraduate Students

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