Simulations of Academic Research : Practices of Information Use around the First-Year Composition Assessed Research Paper at a Middle East University

Williams, Norman and Tight, Malcolm (2024) Simulations of Academic Research : Practices of Information Use around the First-Year Composition Assessed Research Paper at a Middle East University. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract

On entering university, undergraduates face a challenging transition into novel practices around information use. At institutions in the United States and at overseas universities which follow the US model, undergraduates typically take one or more First-Year Composition (FYC) courses to familiarise them with writing at tertiary level in preparation for their disciplinary study; the assessed research essay remains a key element of assessment on these courses. FYC courses and the FYC research paper are also considered key sites for the development of freshman information literacy (IL). The current study takes place at a university in the Middle East. Student and faculty interview data is analysed through a social practice lens, firstly to map practices of information use around the FYC research paper assessment and secondly to explore factors, internal and external, which shape these practices. Findings related to these practices include a superficial engagement with information sources, basic search practices and a neglect of practices around personal information management (PIM). The prescribed structure of the written research paper itself is found to exert a strong influence on related information practices and normative understandings. Students’ conceptualisations of the FYC research essay task are also found to shape practices around information use. Finally, evidence emerges of censorship and self-censorship at the site in relation to the research foci deemed appropriate; this aligns with restrictions in national media. A key implication of these findings is the need to reconceptualise FYC tasks as simulations of future information use. The benefits of such a reconceptualisation and related changes to FYC faculty roles within their institutions are discussed.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
221230
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
14 Jun 2024 15:10
Refereed?:
No
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
06 Jul 2024 00:19