Methodological developments in phenomenography : investing using information to learn in the discipline classroom

Maybee, Clarence, Bruce, Christine S., & Lupton, Mandy (2013) Methodological developments in phenomenography : investing using information to learn in the discipline classroom. In Kurbanoğlu, Serap, Grassian, Esther, Mizrachi, Diane, Catts, Ralph, Akça, Sümeyye, & Špirane, Sonja (Eds.) Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL 2013), Hacettepe University Department of Information Management, Istanbul, Turkey.


This paper discusses methodological developments in phenomenography that make it apropos for the study of teaching and learning to use information in educational environments. Phenomenography is typically used to analyze interview data to determine different ways of experiencing a phenomenon. There is an established tradition of phenomenographic research in the study of information literacy (ex: Bruce, 1997; 2008; Lupton, 2008; Webber, Boon, & Johnston, 2005). Drawing from the large body of evidence complied in two decades of research, phenomenographers developed variation theory, which explains what a learner can feasibly learn from a classroom lesson based on how the phenomenon being studied is presented (Marton, Runesson, & Tsui, 2004). Variation theory’s ability to establish the critical conditions necessary for learning to occur has resulted in the use of phenomenographic methods to study classroom interactions by collecting and analyzing naturalistic data through observation, as well as interviews concerning teachers’ intentions and students’ different experiences of classroom lessons. Describing the methodological developments of phenomenography in relation to understanding the classroom experience, this paper discusses the potential benefits and challenges of utilizing such methods to research the experiences of teaching and learning to use information in discipline-focused classrooms. The application of phenomenographic methodology for this purpose is exemplified with an ongoing study that explores how students learned to use information in an undergraduate language and gender course (Maybee, Bruce, Lupton, & Rebmann, in press). This paper suggests that by providing a nuanced understanding of what is intended for students to learn about using information, and relating that to what transpires in the classroom and how students experience these lessons, phenomenography and variation theory offer a viable framework for further understanding and improving how students are taught, and learn to use information.

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ID Code: 64626
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Phenomenography, Variation theory, Information literacy, Information use, Classroom lessons
ISSN: 9789754913590
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Information Systems
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Hacettepe University Department of Information Management and authors
Deposited On: 23 Dec 2013 00:22
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2014 05:28

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