The purpose of this qualitative case study is to build an understanding of the impact of individual research consultations (IRCs) on upper-level undergraduate social work students’ feelings, thoughts, and actions during the information search process. The purpose and research questions of this study were guided by Kuhlthau’s Information Search Process framework (Kuhlthau, 2004). Seven student participants were sampled from a social work research seminar course at a regional university in northern Minnesota. The information search processes of participants were recorded before and after an IRC with a liaison librarian, using screencast videography (SCV) methods. SCV methods involved having participants share their screen with the researcher and talk through their search process aloud. Data was triangulated with follow up interviews with student participants and a member check with the instructor of the course. Recordings of search sessions before and after the IRC, as well as student interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the qualitative coding software NVivo. Analysis was carried out using critical incident technique. Recordings were reviewed to identify critical incidents and then those incidents were coded relating to participants’ feelings, thoughts, and actions during the information search process. Results show that participants felt mostly confused and frustrated prior to the IRC and experienced more confidence after the IRC. Participants had a more refined topic and were more effective in applying inclusion and exclusion criteria after the IRC. The actions students took after the IRC were more beneficial to their information search process, especially when it came to reading and understanding scholarly research. This study finds that IRCs can make patrons’ information search process more effective and efficient while addressing feelings, thoughts, and actions.

Date Dissertation Completed


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education


Education Studies

Dissertation Advisor

Steven Baule

Dissertation Committee Members

Kendall Larson, Elizabeth Zold, Steven Baule



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