PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore users’ learning in the collaborative information search process when they conduct an academic task as a group.Design/methodology/approachThis paper presents a longitudinal study for a three-month period on an actual task. The participants, who were undergraduate students, needed to write a research proposal in three months to apply for funding for a research project, including a three-hour experiment.FindingsThe results show that undergraduates’ learning in the collaborative search process for academic group work included knowledge reconstruction, tuning, and assimilation. Their understanding of the topic concepts improved through the process, and their attitudes became more optimistic. Besides, the learning in the collaborative information search process also enhanced participants’ skills in communication, research, information search, and collaboration. To improve learning outcomes, professional and appropriate academic resources are required, as well as effective division of labor, positive sharing behaviors, and use of collaborative systems.Practical implicationsThe future development of collaborative information search systems should focus on the needs of academic research and support for elements such as instant communication and knowledge sharing.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to research into searching as learning by understanding undergraduates’ collaborative search behavior for writing a proposal.
Aslib Journal of Information Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 15, 2018