Students’ approaches when researching complex geographical conflicts using the internet

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Eva Engelen Alexandra Budke


Many teachers hesitate to integrate internet research into their lessons as they face major uncertainties concerning their students’ competencies in retrieving, evaluating and processing digital information. Understanding complex geographical conflicts using the internet poses special challenges to students, as they need to obtain multi-dimensional, spatial and temporally relevant information to grasp the conflict in its entirety. In order to obtain insights into students’ digital researching strategies, a study was conducted in 2018 with 20 German secondary school students, who were asked to form their own opinion on a complex geographical conflict by searching the internet for useful information. The students were instructed to share their thoughts and actions aloud while undertaking the research. All digital activities and accompanying speech were recorded with screen and audio capture technology. The analysis of the transcripts consisted of a combination of qualitative and basic quantitative analysis, which led to the conclusion that students have very different abilities in identifying multi-dimensional information on complex geographical conflicts. The majority of the students neither used maps nor paid attention to publication dates of websites or information. Furthermore, none of the participants questioned the credibility of their retrieved digital information.

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How to Cite
ENGELEN, Eva; BUDKE, Alexandra. Students’ approaches when researching complex geographical conflicts using the internet. Journal of Information Literacy, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 2, p. 4-23, nov. 2020. ISSN 1750-5968. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 17 may 2022. doi:
Research articles (peer-reviewed articles)