Information- problem solving: A review of problems students encounter and instructional solutions

Amber Walraven*, Saskia Brand-Gruwel, Els Boshuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    18 Downloads (Pure)


    Searching and processing information is a complex cognitive process that requires students to identify information needs, locate corresponding information sources, extract and organize relevant information from each source, and synthesize information from a variety of sources. This process is called information-problem solving (IPS). IPS can be characterized as a complex cognitive skill, which may need direct instruction to reach high levels of performance. However, IPS has been given little attention in schools, and instruction in this skill is rarely embedded in curricula. And yet, by giving students assignments in which students have to solve an information-based problem, teachers assume that their pupils have developed this skill naturally. A literature study was done to determine what kinds of problems students experience when solving information problems using the WWW for searching information, and what kind of instructional support can help to solve these problems. Results show that children, teenagers and adults have trouble with specifying search terms, judging search results and judging source and information. Regulating the search process is also problematic. Instruction designed specifically for IPS using the WWW for searching information is rare but indeed addresses the problematic skills. However, there are differences between various methods and it is unclear which method is most effective for specific age groups.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)623-648
    Number of pages26
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Issue number3
    Early online date27 Mar 2007
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


    • Information- problem solving
    • information needs
    • search process
    • WWW


    Dive into the research topics of 'Information- problem solving: A review of problems students encounter and instructional solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this