Online research behaviors of engineering graduate students in Taiwan

Ying Hsueh Cheng, Chin Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have examined the online research behaviors of graduate students in terms of how they seek and retrieve research-related information on the Web across diverse disciplines. However, few have focused on graduate students' searching activities, and particularly for their research tasks. Drawing on Kuiper, Volman, and Terwel's (2008) three aspects of web literacy skills (searching, reading, and evaluating), this qualitative study aims to better understand a group of graduate engineering students' searching, reading, and evaluating processes for research purposes. Through in-depth interviews and the think-aloud protocol, we compared the strategies employed by 22 Taiwanese graduate engineering students. The results showed that the students' online research behaviors included seeking and obtaining, reading and interpreting, and assessing and evaluating sources. The findings suggest that specialized training for preparing novice researchers to critically evaluate relevant information or scholarly work to fulfill their research purposes is needed. Implications for enhancing the information literacy of engineering students are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Engineering
  • Graduate students
  • Information searching
  • Online research behavior
  • Strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Engineering(all)


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