Project Information Literacy: The Freshman Study

This recent national study finds that students struggle most with:
1. Formulating effective and efficient online searches
2. Identifying, selecting and locating sources
3. Reading, comprehending and summarizing materials
4. Figuring out faculty’s expectations for research assignments

Project Information Literacy is a national study about early adults and their information-seeking behaviors, competencies, and the challenges they face when conducting research in the digital age. This recent Freshman Study includes the collaboration of library faculty at our very own Phoenix and Mesa Community Colleges—look for them in the video credits!

Check out this short (2:40) video!

Further details regarding this new study from Alison J. Head, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Project Information Literacy (PIL):

I am very pleased to let you know that Project Information Literacy
( has released its seventh research report about
college students and information literacy. This time, PIL investigated
first-year college students.

The findings report is:

“Learning the Ropes: How Freshmen Conduct Course Research Once They Enter
College,” Alison J. Head, Project Information Literacy Research Report,
December 4, 2013.

In this study, we investigate the challenges today’s freshmen face, and the
information-seeking strategies they develop, use, and adapt as they make the
transition from high school to college and begin to complete college research
assignments. Included are data from a comparative analysis of library resources
in 30 US high schools and 6 colleges and universities; interviews with 35
first-term freshmen from 6 colleges and universities, and an online survey with
1,941 US high school and college student respondents.

Also released with this report are two related PIL items about first-year

“Major Findings: PIL’s Freshmen Study” (2:40) (December 2013)

How do today’s freshmen make the critical transition from high school to
college? What challenges do they face with finding and using information on
their new campus? This PIL research preview highlights key findings from the
2013 PIL Freshmen Study, based on interviews with 35 freshmen from six U.S.
colleges and universities. (No permission required for use of PIL videos.)

David Conley: “Deconstructing College Readiness” (December 5, 2013)

David Conley is a policy analyst and professor of educational policy and
leadership at the University of Oregon. We interviewed David in October 2013,
asking him what it means to be college ready today. We also discussed how he
thinks students can acquire the research skills they will need to succeed in
college and in their careers.

Sending best wishes,

- Alison

Alison J. Head, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Project Information Literacy (PIL)
Research Scientist | The Information School, University of Washington
Faculty Associate, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

This entry was posted in Library News, Research. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply