Selecting quality sources: Bridging the gap between the perception and use of information sources
This study investigated undergraduates’ source selection behaviour: what sources they use frequently, what criteria they consider important for source selection, how they perceive different sources, and whether their source selection behaviour is related to what they know about selection criteria. Semantic differential rating scales and correspondence analyses were used to capture the participants’ perception of source characteristics. Five hundred and seventy-six undergraduate students from a public university participated in the study. The study found discrepancies between what students know and what they do regarding source selection. Spearman’s rank correlation results imply that participants did not apply the criteria they considered important (e.g. accuracy, currency) frequently when selecting sources. Sources perceived to be ‘accessible’ in economical, physical, and psychological senses tended to be used often. Suggestions were made to refine information literacy programmes to support the selection of quality sources.