Bridge Building, Intersectionality and Inclusion
Do immigrant students and international students think that research and libraries are different in the United States? Is there a perception of an “American style” or way of doing research? This qualitative research project looks in depth at the experiences of 25 students and their educational transitions to US high schools and colleges. This study of foreign-born students divides them into two populations: immigrant students (US residents and citizens who are foreign-born and have completed at least one year of high school in their home country) and international students (who are defined as foreign-born student visa holders). Analyzing the interview transcripts, the researcher contrasts the experiences of these two groups of students, identifying common and divergent themes around library use and doing research for coursework in high school and college.
In addition to mapping emerging themes in these students’ educational transition experiences, the researcher probes six themes: library services, academic databases, plagiarism, digital piracy, copyright, and scholarly sources. Some interesting findings from these probes include reported. code-switching;, when students use a non-English language to learn about concepts in English. Switching languages is also an advantage as students report a unique form of plagiarism: plagiarizing non-English texts by translating the materials into English and submitting it as their own work.
Additionally, this project documents that students almost always show differences in expectations with library services and how libraries are organized. This unique topic will be interesting to librarians who serve English as a second language populations in public and academic libraries. To conclude, the speaker presents practical recommendations for working with these populations, advocating a closer look at the intersection of library services, cultural perceptions of research, migration, and collections. This research was funded by the American Library Association Diversity Grant.