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Collaborative Information Behaviour in Undergraduate Group Projects: A Study of Engineering Students

Nasser Saleh and Andrew Large

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


This paper reports on ongoing research investigating the collaborative information behaviour of undergraduate engineering students who are working on a course-based engineering project. It presents data collected through a web-based survey undertaken at the end of a senior multidisciplinary design engineering course in a Canadian University. The survey was completed in March 2010 by 42 individual students and included 33 questions relating to both individual and group activities during the project. The findings show that students engaged in more collaborative activities during the information need identification stage and the final stage in which information was employed to write the final report. The open-ended questions showed students’ preferences to approach other people as information channels to guide them to relevant information that are appropriate to the project task. Different strategies towards collaborative activities were also identified among student groups. Collaborative activities were found to be at their highest during the task formulation stage at the early stage of the project and at a lesser level during the selection of the design solution.

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