Study Says Biggest Research Obstacle for College Students is…

Time management. But they are wrong. The ProQuest study says this, however, because:

When study participants were asked to identify which resource they preferred for academic research and course assignments, they overwhelmingly preferred library databases. However, students will opt for Google if they have difficulty navigating the library’s e-resources Web page, if they’re faced with multiple obscure links or “how-to guides,” or if they’re not aware of the library databases that pertain to their particular need.

Seems to me that the issue is not so much time management as a lack of information competency. Everyone thinks they are an expert searcher, and so of course they will indicate when asked that their biggest obstacle is just time rather than efficiency. “If only I had more time to look for articles.” If only students saw the need for further training in identifying, locating, and accessing articles thereby mining more time to digest and write.

The very end of the press release concerning this study gives some indication that my assessment may indeed be a bit closer to the mark:

Results of the ProQuest study have inspired toolkits specifically designed to help academic and public libraries better market their online resources, become more attuned to patron concerns and develop outreach strategies to assist their patrons throughout the research process

If time management were the issue, why not just distribute copies of David Allen’s Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity to students rather than assisting libraries in marketing their training opportunities? Either way the study hardly appears to be all that revolutionary. You mean college students struggle with time management and information competency? Who knew? Students use Google? Really?


  1. So, sounds like you’re a college student, and if so, it would help with the discussion if you would kindly elaborate on how you manage your time, what works and what not etc.

    Thank you.

  2. Paul Roberts says:

    I will… As soon as I have time. 🙂

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