New infokit details information about findings and outputs from Visitors and Residents project

OCLC Research and the University of Oxford, in partnership with the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, have recently completed two years of investigation of their collaborative longitudinal Jisc-funded Visitors and Residents study to investigate the theory of digital visitors and residents. The goal of this project was to obtain a better understanding of what motivates individuals to use particular technologies or spaces when engaging with the information environment and to increase understanding of how learners engage with the Web and how educational services and systems can attract and sustain a possible new group of lifelong learners. US and UK students and scholars representing different stages of the educational lifecycle: Emerging (Late stage secondary school-first year undergraduate); Establishing (Second/third year undergraduate); Embedding (Postgraduates, PhD students); and Experienced (Scholars) participated in individual semi-structured interviews and monthly diary submissions. This trans-Atlantic investigation provides a comparison of students' digital learning strategies in different cultural contexts.

Findings and outputs from this project, as well as video interviews from the co-principal investigators, are available online in a new infokit. The content for the infoKit was created by David White (University of Oxford), Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. (OCLC Research), Donna Lanclos, Ph.D. (UNC Charlotte), Erin M. Hood (OCLC Research), and Carrie Vass (OCLC Research). The findings to date indicate that people still rely on other people, especially those within their personal networks to get information. Individuals make decisions based on convenience within the context of their information needs and the situation within which the need arises. Web-based functionalities are the expected norm for services by many people. There is an underlying perception, particularly by US students, that sources such as Wikipedia should be avoided, creating a “learning black market” where these sources are covertly used and not mentioned.   

The final phase of the project consists of analyzing and reporting data and is now underway. The interview and diary data were analyzed to answer some of the research questions and will continue to be analyzed and reported. An online survey that included the questions asked in the individual interviews and diary submissions was distributed to 200 participants that represent individuals in each of the four educational stages in the US and UK. Data from this online survey will then be analyzed and compared to the interview and diary results to determine if the behaviors and perceptions of the individuals who participated in the interviews and diaries during the initial the two-year period of this project were replicated in the larger sample of participants who completed the online survey.

For more information:

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research


Quick links:

Visitors and Residents infokit [link]

Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? project overview [link]

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D. [link]

David White [link]

Donna M. Lanclos [link]    

Erin Hood [link]

Carrie Vass [link]

OCLC Research [link]

Jisc [link]

University of Oxford [link]

University of North Carolina, Charlotte [link]