Big news — I successfully defended my dissertation yesterday (23 July 2019) and became Dr. Sobel! I look forward to contributing what I have learned to the field of academic librarianship. That said, I will be off the grid for just a little while, resting up.

Dissertation Research Project

My dissertation research is titled Transfer of Learning of Higher-Order Thinking Skills. I am pursuing a question that has intrigued me throughout my 15 years in the classroom: What motivates students to continue using higher-order thinking skills (such as critical thinking and information literacy) once they have initially developed these skills in the classroom? Some students continue to use and further develop these skills; other students do not (as any teacher can tell you). My research tracks first-year students’ usage of critical thinking and information literacy skills over the course of an academic year and motivating factors that students identify as driving their work. I intend to identify specific motivating factors that speak to the most effective users of critical thinking and information literacy skills, as well as those identified by the greatest number of students overall. Stay tuned!

Transfer of Learning in Libraries

I’m tremendously excited to see what my research will bring to academic libraries. We know a good deal about how students behave in terms of research, but little about what motivates their decision-making processes. Here are a few contributions that I hope to bring to academic libraries:

  • Detailed knowledge of motivating factors behind students’ use of information literacy, which we can use to reshape library instruction
  • Introducing the actor-oriented transfer perspective, used in STEM education and other areas of education research, to academic libraries
  • Helping academic librarians begin to create new assessment tools and strategies using the actor-oriented transfer perspective
  • Evaluating and validating several instruments for the advanced use of actor-oriented transfer in academic libraries (a project that I intend to pursue after completing my dissertation research!)