Insights on first-generation students’ development of social capital for the rigours of college-level research




college preparation, first generation students, information literacy, social capital, United States


As a part of a larger study titled, First Years Meet the Frames, this work explores the perceptions of first-generation students (FGS) on their readiness for college-level research as well as their first-year college experience with libraries and librarians. Although, by definition, these students lack the cultural capital normally derived from parents who went to college in order to readily assimilate into higher education institutions, depending on their high school experiences, they may be able to build social capital. Accordingly, this article investigates such opportunities which lie in high schools with strong library programs that have a full-time certified librarian working in alignment with the national school library standards of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). It addresses what aspects of this preparation facilitate the development of social capital and follows FGS into the first year of college to see how they continue to build it. It also compares FGS to their continuing generation student (CGS) counterparts from the same high schools. Findings show that FGS can build social capital via these high school library programs and continue to leverage their high school experiences and skill sets in order to create new networks and to tackle college-level research during the first year of college. FGS demonstrate similar preparedness and similar confidence in research abilities as their CGS counterparts.






Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)