Online library databases are the primary method for finding relevant literature in many fields. These databases either have primarily abstracts or have the entire article online (i.e., full-text). This chapter describes how students use and misuse abstract and full-text databases when conducting literature searches. Findings from two studies indicate (1) students overestimate the usefulness of full-text databases, (2) students do not know which type of database is the best tool for a particular situation, and (3) students favor technology that is easier for them to use. By understanding the implications of these findings, it is hoped instructors can create lectures and assignments that increase students’ information literacy levels. Additionally, this chapter provides an example of how people, in general, will use new technology that is easier but is not necessarily more useful.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Abstract Databases: Online literature search databases that have large numbers of abstracts with some full-text articles.
Full-Text Databases: Online literature search databases in which each article indexed is present in its entirety.
Online Literature Search Databases: Internet-based tool that helps find journal articles.
Ease of Use: Amount of effort needed to meet a goal using a particular technology.
Technology Acceptance Model: Describes factors that predict user acceptance of technology.
Subjective Norms: Social rules for how people should and should not use technology.
Usefulness: Quality of output when using a particular technology.