Scaffolding in information search: Effects on less experienced searchers

Yin-Leng THENG, Elizabeth A. LEE, Samuel Kai-Wah CHU, Celina Wing Yi LEE, Monroe Man-Lung CHIU, Randolph Chun Ho CHAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to investigate how expert scaffolded training could help, from novice postgraduate students’ point of view, and foster development of information search ability among postgraduate students. Using a quasiexperimental design over a year and a half, eight doctoral students (novice searchers) participated in a series of five sessions with an expert searcher who was an information professional. A novice-expert comparison examined the differences between novices and experts in information searching; and the effect of scaffolding sessions in which the expert information searcher helped novice information searchers was examined. Findings showed differences existed between the novice and the expert searchers in use of complex formulation of query statements, choice of keywords, and operators. Scaffolding sessions with the expert searcher resulted in self-reported and observable improvement in information searching among the novice searchers. The paper concludes with a discussion of the design of information retrieval systems and recommendations for library programmes to support the continued development of research students’ information literacy skills. Copyright © 2015 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-190
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2016


Theng, Y.-L., Lee, E. A., Chu, S. K.-W., Lee, C. W. Y., Chiu, M. M.-L., & Chan, R. C. H. (2016). Scaffolding in information search: Effects on less experienced searchers. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 48(2), 177-190. doi: 10.1177/0961000615595455


  • Expert-novice comparison
  • Information search
  • Postgraduate satisfaction
  • Scaffolding


Dive into the research topics of 'Scaffolding in information search: Effects on less experienced searchers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.