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Title:An Evaluation of the Information Retrieval Skills of Students With and Without Learning Handicaps Using Printed and Electronic Encyclopedias
Author(s):Edyburn, Dave Lee
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Heal, Laird W.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Special
Education, Technology of
Information Science
Abstract:The use of online databases for information retrieval has risen substantially in recent years as a result of issues associated with accessibility, convenience, and efficiency. This study examined student use of information technology and focused specifically on students' natural information retrieval skills by (a) comparing student use of printed and electronic forms of an encyclopedia, (b) examining the effects of menu or command driven interfaces and task difficulty on students' success of retrieval of specific factual information using encyclopedias, and (c) assessing students' attitudes toward information retrieval tasks when using printed and electronic encyclopedias.
Thirteen junior high students with learning handicaps and fifteen students without learning handicaps were randomly selected and randomly assigned to one of three treatment orders in a repeated measures Latin square design. Assessments were made on each student's IQ, spelling ability, reference skills, and keyboarding speed. Each treatment session involved retrieving specific factual information on four search tasks using one of three encyclopedias: print, electronic with menus, or electronic with commands. Students completed an attitude scale at the end of every search session.
Significant differences were found between the two groups' levels of success on all retrieval tasks. The menu driven electronic encyclopedia was found to improve retrieval success significantly over the command driven version. However, the menu electronic encyclopedia was not found to improve retrieval success significantly over the printed encyclopedia. Further, the command driven encyclopedia significantly impaired retrieval success to a level lower than that in the printed encyclopedia. Significantly greater retrieval success was also found on assigned tasks versus self-selected tasks and on simple tasks versus complex tasks. Regression analysis indicated that scores from the reference skills test and keyboarding speed were significant predictors of retrieval success, whereas IQ and spelling ability were not. Students' attitudes toward information retrieval tasks were not affected by the type of encyclopedia used, but students with learning handicaps were found to hold significantly higher (positive) attitudes than their nonhandicapped peers after all three treatments. The implications of the results for teaching online searching to students are noted.
Issue Date:1987
Description:270 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8803029
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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