Title

Making sense of student source selection: Using the why method to analyze authority in student research bibliographies

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2021

Abstract

In a follow-up to a pilot study published in 2019, the authors collected student research papers from English Composition II courses at three public comprehensive universities from different regions in the United States to classify and compare the sources selected by students at each institution. Working with a representative sample of 712 bibliographic references, the authors used a research-tested taxonomy called The WHY Method to classify each source by three key attributes—Who wrote each source, How it was edited, and whY it was published. The results of this cross-institutional study indicate that student source selection is affected most powerfully by the vari-ables of which institution a student attends, student age, and whether the student is a first-generation university student. Student GPA, gender, class ranking (freshman, sophomore, and so on), and ethnicity were not statistically predictive factors. This study establishes the importance of institutional context in how students construct authority and provides librarians with a tool that enables them to better understand and describe that context.

DOI

10.5860/crl.82.5.642

Publication Title

College and Research Libraries

Volume Number

82

Issue Number

5

First Page

642

Last Page

661

ISSN

00100870

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