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Investigation of High School Students’ Online Science Information Searching Performance: The Role of Implicit and Explicit Strategies

Abstract

Due to a growing trend of exploring scientific knowledge on the Web, a number of studies have been conducted to highlight examination of students’ online searching strategies. The investigation of online searching generally employs methods including a survey, interview, screen-capturing, or transactional logs. The present study firstly intended to utilize a survey, the Online Information Searching Strategies Inventory (OISSI), to examine users’ searching strategies in terms of control, orientation, trial and error, problem solving, purposeful thinking, selecting main ideas, and evaluation, which is defined as implicit strategies. Second, this study conducted screen-capturing to investigate the students’ searching behaviors regarding the number of keywords, the quantity and depth of Web page exploration, and time attributes, which is defined as explicit strategies. Ultimately, this study explored the role that these two types of strategies played in predicting the students’ online science information searching outcomes. A total of 103 Grade 10 students were recruited from a high school in northern Taiwan. Through Pearson correlation and multiple regression analyses, the results showed that the students’ explicit strategies, particularly the time attributes proposed in the present study, were more successful than their implicit strategies in predicting their outcomes of searching science information. The participants who spent more time on detailed reading (explicit strategies) and had better skills of evaluating Web information (implicit strategies) tended to have superior searching performance.

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Acknowledgments

The funding of this study is supported by National Science Council, Taiwan, under grant contract numbers NSC 98-2511-S-011-005-MY3 and NSC 95-2511-S-011 -005 -MY3.

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Correspondence to Chin-Chung Tsai.

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Tsai, MJ., Hsu, CY. & Tsai, CC. Investigation of High School Students’ Online Science Information Searching Performance: The Role of Implicit and Explicit Strategies. J Sci Educ Technol 21, 246–254 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-011-9307-2

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Keywords

  • Web search
  • Science learning
  • Information problem-solving
  • Online search strategies
  • Pedagogical issues