A qualitative pilot study is underway at Queensborough Community College - The City University of New York to explore the information behaviors of community college students in the context of an assigned research task. Two research questions are addressed: RQ1: How do community college students make sense of research assignments?; RQ2: What role does the academic library play in community college students’ sense-making processes?
This project is framed using Dervin’s Sense-Making Theory of Information Behavior (Dervin, 1998). Community college students are interviewed and asked to reconstruct their experience in the completion of a research assignment. Per Dervin’s model, the assignment is conceived as a time-space journey, and the journey is comprised of a series of student-conceptualized situations and gaps, bridges and outcomes. Data is collected using Sense-Making’s micro moment time-line interview technique (Dervin, 1983) and analyzed using a grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006). This study hopes to expand human information behavior and user study literature with a focus on the community college student; it will also close a methodological gap in the community college scholarship with a Sense-Making approach to data collection. Pilot findings may offer insights into the refinement of academic library sources and services, which could contribute to community college student achievement, and may be used to launch a larger mixed-methods inquiry regarding this user population. The poster will discuss research study methodology and data collection, as well as present preliminary findings and interview themes.