Student News
July 07, 2017
San José Gateway PhD Student Awarded Fellowship

A San José Gateway PhD program student was awarded a Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship given by Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society for library and information science and information technology. The primarily online doctoral program is offered in a partnership between the San José State University School of Information and Queensland University of Technology.

Karen KaufmannKaren Kaufmann’s dissertation, “Socio-Cognitive Relevance of Information Literacy: The Impact on Student Academic Work,” aims to learn about students’ perceptions of the importance of information literacy competencies applied to academic work. According to the abstract, preliminary findings may indicate new insights for improving pedagogical work, supporting academia goals, and “improving how to communicate the value of information literacy competencies as transferable competencies to the ‘real world.’”

Dr. Garfield’s passing earlier this year made being selected for the fellowship an especially significant honor for Kaufman.

“I believe the timing of this award is a tribute to the SJSU/QUT Gateway PhD program. My supervisory team, Dr. Lili Luo (SJSU); Dr. Elham Sayyad Abdi (QUT); and Professor Sylvia L. Edwards (QUT); as well as the full faculty and PhD student cohorts (past and present) are uniquely intertwined with the work and research represented in my work,” she said.

Kaufmann also credits Dr. Sandy Hirsh (SJSU), Dr. Cheryl Stenstrom (SJSU), and Dr. Christine Bruce (QUT) for their guidance and support of the program and her research.

“Winning the fellowship is incredibly exciting and humbling all at the same time.”

Using a pragmatic epistemological and methodological approach, the research design includes a cross-sectional mixed-methods two-stage sequential study. The first stage uses an online survey to gather quantitative data on undergraduate student perceptions of the socio-cognitive relevance of information literacy competencies when applied to their academic work. The second uses focus groups to gather qualitative data to identify the factors that make information literacy competencies socio-cognitively relevant to academic work.

The $3,000 award will be used to assist with travel to present preliminary findings at the 2017 European Conference on Information Literacy, specifically on Kaufmann’s dissertation and other presentations related to the research.