DEC Scan Journal : August 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 3 August 2011 20 perspective of learning have highlighted social aspects and the need to focus on the situatedness of information literacy. Thus this perspective takes into account the context in which research participants work or learn. The study adopted constructivist grounded theory as its methodology. Taking a constructivist approach implies that the researcher views knowledge as constructed by learners, and that the researcher interprets (as opposed to reports) the constructions of reality offered by participants. For example, where students in the study discussed their information literacy practices, they were constructing a version of their experience, not reporting it in total. Grounded theory was developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967), but has since been developed by others, including Strauss and Corbin (1998) and Charmaz (2006). This researcher followed Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist approach to grounded theory. Charmaz (2006) argues that key aspects of construc- tivist grounded theory, which makes it different from objectivist (Bryant, 2003) versions, are that constructivist grounded theorists view the researcher not as someone who analyses data with complete objectivity, but as an interpreter of data; and that grounded theory does not emerge from the data, but is constructed by the researcher who interprets the data, which the researcher collects through active interactions with research participants. The study took place in three secondary schools in rural NSW and each school has a full-time qualified teacher librarian. In each school, one Year 7 class was selected after discus- sions with the principal and teacher librarian. A total of 75 students took part in the study. Data was collected from student diaries, student question- naires, and interviews with students, teacher librarians and teachers in the three schools. In the interviews, teacher librarians and teachers were asked about their students’ previous experiences of information literacy, what aspects of information literacy they taught, what expectations they had of students, and whether students were likely to transfer information literacy practices. Students completed diaries in Term 3 of the school year, when they were studying topics and completing an assignment, in History. Students were given advice by the teacher librarian and teachers in each school about aspects of information literacy, including brainstorming, concept mapping, information seeking, evalua- tion of information, concepts and ideas, note taking and assignment writing. The emphasis was on students gaining meaningful knowledge from their use of learning resources. In Term 4, students were reminded of the information literacy advice given in Term 3 but no formal guidance was given. At the end of Term 4, when they had completed studying topics in Science (school A), Japanese (school B) and English (school C), students completed a questionnaire. In each school, near the end of Term 4, inter- views were conducted with two groups of four students, and with four individual students. Convenience sampling (Johnson & Christensen, 2007) was used to select students. Interviews were conducted with teachers and teacher librarians at the start of Term 3 (individual teachers and teacher librarian), at the start of Term 4 (individual teachers), and at the end of Term 4 (groups of the teacher librarian and three teachers in each school). Data from the diaries, questionnaires and interviews were analysed and interpreted by the researcher using constructivist grounded analysis (Charmaz, 2006; Pidgeon & Henwood, 2004). A number of substantial categories were identified by the researcher. These categories (e.g. students valuing concept mapping) were used at the theoretical sampling stage of the study. Theoretical sampling takes the form of the researcher returning to the research participants and asking them to comment on the substantial categories which have been identified. In each school, one group of five students and one group of the teacher librarian and four teachers was inter- viewed for the theoretical sampling. Findings The main findings of the study, which are discussed below, include: Valuing information literacy practices A minority of students (c10–15%) actively valued information literacy practices and could reflect metacogni- tively on their own learning. These students could be viewed as proactive practitioners. Most students (c80–85%) saw value in information literacy practices, but took a more reactive approach, which meant that they were often reluctant to implement these practices, unless they were told or encouraged to do so by the teacher librarian and teachers. This group could be viewed as potential practitioners. A very small minority (less than 5%) did not see value in information literacy practices, as they appeared unable to understand the concepts relating to such practices. These students could be viewed as non-practitioners. The three groups of students, which overlapped in different contexts, demonstrate that most students did value information literacy, and were able to implement skills and techniques (e.g. question formulation) if they were motivated to do so. Being engaged The proactive practitioners were engaged in their own learning, and The emphasis was on students gaining meaningful knowledge from their use of learning resources.