Business opportunities: students and their ‘everyday life research’

In First Monday’s recent issue (Volume 4, 4 April 2011) researchers Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg from the University of Washington report on their research into college students’ everyday life information-seeking behaviour.

A few helpful findings for book industry players:

  • ‘books’ are often considered more authoritative than blogs or random info – one student went in search of methods for curing food, they ‘blew those (blogs) off’ and went to an online cookbook.
  • students are ‘more engaged’ with ‘everyday life research’ than conventional course work.
  • search engines are used most for making purchasing-related decisions and other high-risk decisions (like curing food properly so it doesn’t make you sick).

Most importantly, this research points to  business opportunities for publishers and campus book-sellers in:

  • identifying the everyday life research that students engage in.
  • developing online information services to meet these needs.
  • integrating these information services with course-related products and services they already access.
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