Utilizing grounded theory to explore the information seeking behavior of senior nursing students


Background: The ability to find and retrieve information efficiently is an important skill for undergraduate nursing students. Yet a number of studies reveal that nursing students are not confident in their library searching skills and encounter barriers to retrieving relevant information for assignments. Objectives: This grounded theory study examined strategies used by students to locate information for class assignments and identified barriers to their success. Methods: Purposive sampling was used to recruit eleven students, who were asked to record their searching processes while completing a class assignment, and semi-structured, open-ended, audiotaped interviews took place to discuss the students'journals and solicit additional data. Methods of information seeking, strategies used to find information, and barriers to searching were identified. Results: Students' main concern was frustration caused by the challenge of choosing appropriate words or phrases to query databases. The central theme that united all categories and explained most of the variation among the data was "discovering vocabulary." Conclusions: Teaching strategies to identify possible words and phrases to use when querying information sources should be emphasized more in the information literacy training of undergraduate nursing student

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