Moving beyond anxiety

The emotional research experiences of first-year students




information behaviour, information literacy, research methods, undergraduate students, US


Information Professionals are avid users of data points to inform their practices, but have we flattened the data to such an extent that we have lost the emotional side of research that students experience? In this article, we will discuss our findings regarding student emotions and information beliefs and share ways in which this data can give depth to our practices. In this qualitative study, we used twenty interviews conducted in 2019 to uncover student information beliefs. Through exploratory data analysis we discovered students expressing a variety of emotions beyond anxiety, not all of which were negative.

It is only when we examine student perceptions that we reveal the emotionally fraught process of research. Recommendations based on our findings fall into three categories: encouraging information professionals to find paths to removing access barriers, find ways to move into faculty development, and acknowledging the aspects of research that can make it hard but rewarding for students. Our findings and recommendations focus on how to establish practices that allow students to use their persistence in ways that enhance their learning rather than using cognitive energy on the intricacies of a library specific task.






Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)