Varied content types improves learning, say students

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While peer-reviewed journals remain an essential resource, faculty and students are depending on a wide variety of content types including primary sources, dissertations, videos, and more for success in research and teaching. That was the conclusion of a recent ProQuest survey that provides insight into the reasons why today’s academic community looks beyond journals for information.

In March, ProQuest surveyed more than 1,300 faculty and students around the globe to better understand the value they find in using various types of content. Responses reveal that access to varied content types generates better student research and learning outcomes.

Primary sources play a particularly enriching role in learning. One faculty respondent said: 'A single exposure to a handwritten text – even electronically – can be an inspiring experience for students, taking them out of their comfort zone and into unfamiliar material, people, and language.'

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Faculty members believe a student’s use of a wide variety of content types aids their understanding of topics, contributes to better grades, and allows for a more thorough review of existing literature and research findings.
  • Faculty members encourage the use of primary sources, believing they help students develop critical thinking skills.
  • Students are influenced by their professors’ recommendations when choosing content to use in their research and assignments.

These findings present opportunities for libraries to introduce students to the wide variety of materials faculty are recommending. 

'This survey underscores that ProQuest’s comprehensive content strategy maps well to librarian, faculty and student research expectations,' said Jim Holmes, ProQuest senior vice president, global sales and marketing. 'We work with librarians around the world to help them identify resource options that enable students and faculty to achieve the best outcomes.'

See more details on ProQuest’s survey here.