Health Science Librarians of Ilinois

HSLI Newsletter


Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Study on College Graduates’ Long-Term Information Needs

Project Information Literacy, in collaboration with the University of Washington Information School and the Institute of Museum and Libraries, recently released the report Staying Smart: How Today’s Graduates Continue to Learn Once They Complete College. The impetus behind the report was that not much research had been done on the information-seeking behaviors of college graduates once they have finished their schooling. In particular, the role that lifelong learning has in the professional and personal lives of graduates is a topic that the report’s authors deemed merited more attention. Formal learning (through workplace training and continuing education) and informal learning (through pursuing hobbies or receiving information from family and friends) both have a key role to play in how people acquire information throughout their lives. The questions that guided the report’s authors revolved around what information needs people have, what information sources they use, and what skills they learned in college (such as critical thinking) are applied to seeking information. The ultimate goal of the report was to modify the information-seeking framework for lifelong learning, if necessary.

The report came to the following conclusions.

  • College graduates have a broad skill set that allows them to acquire additional competencies and knowledge.
  • The most-common uses of information were to solve relatively simple problems in their own lives, including those related to financial management.
  • In the workplace, graduates wanted career and professional guidance, including advice on interpersonal communication skills.
  • For actually finding information, search engines (such as Google) and blogs were the most popular.
  • Despite the desire to stay informed, many people found it difficult to do so, due to the vast amount of information they have to navigate.
  • Most graduates agreed that the skills they had acquired in college, including critical thinking, did carry over to their post-college lives.

To view the full report, click here.

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