Home Page

Section 2 Becoming a Researcher/Scholar / Chapter 4 Effective Research

Comfort with technology helps alleviate some fears, but it does not guarantee information literacy.

2. Technology Literacy


Many learners who make the transition from a traditional ground schedule to a fully online program are apprehensive about having to depend solely on an online library for research. Most of their fears are rooted in a lack of technology experience, but after a couple of trial runs and the completion of the library tutorials, the learners should feel confident in their technical skill set. Boeriswati (2012) believed learners who do not possess technology literacy must develop this skill set “as a tool to facilitate achieving the objectives” (p. 651). However, computers and technology have become inseparable with education and higher learning. The changes to learners’ preferences and behaviors cannot be ignored by higher education. According to Frand (2000), “Most students entering our colleges and universities are younger than the microcomputer, are more comfortable working on a keyboard than writing in a spiral notebook, and are happier reading from a computer screen than from paper in hand” (p. 15). Comfort with technology helps alleviate some fears, but it does not guarantee information literacy. A study investigating the research behaviors of the “Google generation” revealed that people born after 1993 are adept with computer technology, but demonstrated severe shortcomings in the areas of critical thinking and analysis (Rowlands et al., 2008). A study focusing on Generation Y doctoral students found mixed results. These learners were “sophisticated information seekers” who could adequately evaluate sources, but this group was more resistant to implementing new technology that would contest current research strategies (Carpenter, 2012). It appears that some doctoral learners have an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach to education, which has its benefits; however, a research project of this magnitude will require learners to implement technological tools that may make them feel uncomfortable at first. After applying such computer programs, learners will be relieved to see how the programs help them organize and analyze their research. These studies may appear alarming to the state of higher education, but becoming technology literate is a process that takes repetitive practice and a willingness to adapt to change. These adjustments will contribute to the successful completion of a doctoral program.