July 30, 2013

Few students likely to use print books for research


Only 12% of teachers say their students are “very likely” to use printed books in a research assignment.

Was it really that long ago when students began their research papers by hitting the library stacks?

Apparently so. In a 2012 Pew Research Center survey of almost 2,500 middle- and high-school teachers, just 12% said their students were “very likely” to use printed books (other than textbooks) in a typical research assignment — just behind the 16% who said their students would be very likely to consult research librarians.

The most-likely research resource for today’s students? No surprises: Google (which 94% of teachers said their students were “very likely” to use) and Wikipedia (75%), followed by YouTube, social-media sites and fellow students.

The survey results echo teachers’ perceptions that their students’ research methods are shallower than those of prior generations — using search engines and readily available references like Wikipedia to quickly¬†locate just enough information to complete an assignment. As one teacher quoted in the report put it: “Students see the internet as a cool place where they can get quick information. They don’t know how to use it properly. I am not sure there are adults that know how to use it properly.”

Category: Daily Number

Topics: Education, Information Seeking

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Barbara Fister4 years ago

    It could be relevant that many schools have eliminated school librarian positions and closed libraries. Why would anyone expect students to use books when schools are closing their libraries and handing out iPads?

    And “let them use public libraries” is not always a solution in communities that have had to close branches and reduce hours.

    That said, school librarians could help a lot with the “not knowing how to use the Internet properly” issue even if there were no budget for books. Using information well isn’t dependent on publication format.

  2. zhang4 years ago

    I don’t think it exactly.It was from teachers,not students.

  3. Georgios Floros4 years ago

    Shouldn’t those teachers train their students in using electronic research depositories and research engines Those were the two answers most likely to be answered with the not at all likely response.