Information problem solving instruction: An overview of 21st century research

Iwan Wopereis, Jimmy Frerejean, Laurent Testers, Johan Van Strien, Jaap Walhout, Saskia Brand-Gruwel

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

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    Information problem solving (IPS) is the process of locating, selecting, evaluating, and integrating information from various sources to fulfill an information need (Brand-Gruwel, Wopereis, & Vermetten, 2005). It is regarded an important contemporary skill, at times categorized as twenty-first century skill or higher-order skill. Eisenberg and Berkowitz (1990) coined the term IPS in the nineties of the last century to specify their Big6 approach to integrated library and information skills instruction. Brand-Gruwel et al. (2005) used this instructional method as starting point to analyze IPS processes in professional and learning contexts, resulting in different descriptive models (Dinet, Chevalier, & Tricot, 2012). They concurrently initiated a strand of research that aimed at deducing design guidelines for IPS instruction in secondary and tertiary education (Brand-Gruwel & Gerjets, 2008). This strand has been largely informed from recent insights on instructional design for complex learning (cf. Van Merriënboer & Kirschner, 2013). The paper at issue focuses on the latter strand of research and presents a retrospective and prospective view on IPS instruction research. The retrospective part of the paper is based on a literature review; the prospective part includes an inventory of research initiatives recently started. For reviewing the literature we consulted databases of EBSCO (ERIC, LISTA, and PsycINFO) and Web of Science (SSCI). For listing ongoing research, conference proceedings of internationally recognized conferences within the domain of learning and instruction were analyzed. In addition, scholars in the field of IPS instruction were consulted to provide information on newly started research projects. Results of both the literature review and the inventory of ongoing research reveal five major themes in research on IPS instruction, namely: (a) the embeddedness of IPS instruction in educational curricula, (b) the whole task approach as basic principle of IPS instruction, (c) the effect of modes of scaffolding in IPS instruction, (d) the role of meta-cognition in IPS instruction, and (e) the emphasis on evaluation of information in IPS instruction. Except for the latter, the aforementioned issues largely resemble current topics in instructional design research. The focus on information evaluation in IPS instruction stresses the generally recognized importance of this IPS constituent (Wopereis & Van Merriënboer, 2011). As the internet does not have a traditional ‘gatekeeper of credibility’, like an editor, it is the information seeker who is increasingly responsible for the assessment of information found. Beside the results, the paper discusses directions for future research. In addition the link between IPS instruction research and research on information literacy education is highlighted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2015
    Event44th Annual International Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship: The School Library Rocks: Living it, Learning it, Loving it - Maastricht, Netherlands
    Duration: 28 Jun 20152 Jul 2015


    Conference44th Annual International Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship
    Abbreviated titleIASL


    • information literacy
    • information problem solving
    • instruction
    • instructional design
    • literature review


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