How do the millennials search?

This post was written by Sol on March 27, 2012
Posted Under: Uncategorized

Here’s a paper worth reading: “A study of the information search behaviour of the millennial generation.” No, not because there are any earth-shattering conclusions, but you may want to read the article to confirm that what you already suspect to be true really is true. Here’s the introduction from the paper’s abstract:

Introduction. Members of the millennial generation (born after 1982) have come of age in a society infused with technology and information. It is unclear how they determine the validity of information gathered, or whether or not validity is even a concern. Previous information search models based on mediated searches with different age groups may not adequately describe the search behaviours of this generation.

Here’s the conclusion:

Conclusions. These findings indicate that the search behaviour of millennial generation searchers may be problematic. Existing search models are appropriate; it is the execution of the model by the searcher within the context of the search environment that is at issue.

Beyond telling us what we already know the paper gives insights as to how librarians can help students to become more sophisticated researchers. Areas in which librarians can add value include:

  1. Verification of quality of Web information sources
  2. A shift of focus from filtering content to first verifying its quality and then filtering
  3. Developing an orderly methodology for performing research

The paper might provide insights that search engine developers could someday roll into their offerings targeted at students.

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