Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Information Sciences

Major Professor

Peiling Wang

Committee Members

Douglas Raber, Marie Garrett


The ability to gather data and synthesize information is a valuable skill for students, an important life skill, and for many, an important job skill. Yet, confusion, fear, anxiety, and doubt are often associated with research assignments; these feelings can interfere with learning. Carol Kuhlthau showed that these emotions are a normal part of the research process for novice researchers and give way, in time, to increased interest and confidence as the work progresses. She demonstrated that awareness of the Information Search Process (ISP) model improves student's ability to tolerate the uncertainty inherent in the early stages of the process and increases their satisfaction. Because Kuhlthau showed that her model holds across a wide array of user needs and a wide range of ages, sharing the model with students about to begin a research assignment may serve their immediate needs and their needs well into the future.

At many educational institutions, contact time between information professionals and students is limited. Library instruction often consists of one fifty-minute bibliographic session designed to teach the organization of the library and library tool use. If it is possible to teach the model in a short thirty- minute presentation with positive results, educators may be able to reach more students without implementing major program changes.

The purpose of this study was to determine if a thirty-minute presentation of Kuhlthau's ISP model could: (1) improve awareness of the I thoughts associated with the research process, (2) improve awareness of feelings associated with the research process, (3) reduce anxiety associated with the research process, and (4) improve satisfaction with the research process.

A new test instrument, the Research Process Survey (RPS), was designed and used to measure awareness and satisfaction levels associated with the research process. The population studied was upper division undergraduate students assigned a research paper of ten pages or more. The experimental design used pre-tests, post-tests, and interim tests.

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