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Beginning Monday, March 23, Hoover Library will be CLOSED until further notice. Virtual reference services (use the "ASK US" or "CHAT" button) will be available from 1 PM - 9 PM Sunday, 9 AM - 9 PM Monday-Thursday, and 9 AM - 4 PM Friday. Hours are subject to change at any time. Please see our Hours page for current building availability. For more information, see the McDaniel College COVID-19 Information Page
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Students: Please see our COVID-19 Student Access page.

Improving Student Research: About the Studies

Project Information Literacy

Project Information Literacy is a research project based in the University of Washington's Information School. Their goal is to collect data from early adults enrolled in community colleges and public and private colleges and universities in the U.S. in order to understand how they conceptualize and operationalize research activities for course work and "everyday life" use and especially how they resolve issues of credibility, authority, relevance, and currency in the digital age. PIL methodologies have included a survey of over 8,000 students from 25 U.S. college campuses, a content analysis of 191 course-related research assignment handouts from 28 campuses, and student discussion groups at 7 campuses. Below are links to the progress reports and research articles based on their studies. See PIL's website for a full list of publications, including news articles, interviews, and podcasts.

PIL Progress Reports

“Assigning Inquiry: How Handouts for Research Assignments Guide Today's College Students,” Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Progress Report, University of Washington's Information School, July 13, 2010 (41 pages, PDF, 2.14MB).

"Finding Context: What Today's College Student Say about Conducting Research in the Digital Age", Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Progress Report, University of Washington's Information School, February 4, 2009 (18 pages, PDF, 864 KB).

Lessons Learned: How College Students Seek Information in the Digital Age,” Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy First Year Report with Student Survey Findings, University of Washington's Information School, December 1, 2009 (42 pages, PDF, 3 MB).

"Truth Be Told: How College Students Evaluate and Use Information in the Digital Age," Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, Project Information Literacy Progress Report, University of Washington's Information School, November 1, 2010. (Two different versions available: Text with appendices: 72 pages, PDF, 5.8MB version or Text without appendices: 41 pages, PDF, 5.49MB.)

PIL Research Articles

"Beyond Google: How Do Students Conduct Academic Research?" by Alison J. Head, First Monday, July 2007, vol. 12, no. 7, (11 pages).

"How College Students Use the Web to Conduct Everyday Life Research," by Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, First Monday, April 2011, vol. 16, no. 4, (23 pages).

How Today's College Students Use Wikipedia for Course-Related Research,” Alison J. Head and Michael B. Eisenberg, First Monday, March 2010, Volume 15, Number 3 (16 pages).

"Information Literacy from the Trenches: How Do Humanities and Social Science Majors Conduct Academic Research?" Preprint publication by Alison J. Head, College and Research Libraries, September 2008, vol. 69, no. 4, (39 pages).

The ERIAL Project

The Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries (ERIAL) Project was a 21-month research study conducted in 2008-2010 that investigated how university students conduct academic research and utilize library resources and services. ERIAL Project researchers employed a variety of anthropological data collection techniques and included more than 650 students, librarians, and faculty members participating in over 700 research activities. The results of their studies have been published in the book College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Know Now, which is available to McDaniel College faculty through the Center for Faculty Excellence and as part of Hoover Library's general collection (call number 027.7 C697, which is located on the 3rd floor):


Journal articles, conference presentations, and other additional publications are available on the ERIAL Project website.