Misuse of Online Databases for Literature Searches

Misuse of Online Databases for Literature Searches

Robert A. Bartsch
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-058-5.ch112
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Online library databases are the primary method for finding relevant literature in many fields. These databases either primarily have 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.

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