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Scientific discourse of information literacy and graduate employability


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Bušelić, Vjeran. (2018). Scientific discourse of information literacy and graduate employability. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti) [mentor Banek Zorica, Mihaela].

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The youth employment problem is one of the global problems that European politics is trying to carry out proactively, especially since mid-2014 by appointing a new European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Employment, growth and investment are the first of the 10 priorities listed in its administration. The latest figures from the European Commission on the unemployment rate show a systematic trend of reducing it since 2013, but the ratio of youth unemployment to total unemployment is steady and is 2.2 times higher, which means that it is at least twice difficult to get a job in Europe if you are young, and probably graduated. In 2016, Croatia had a youth unemployment rate of 31.1% and worse were just Italy, Spain and Greece. What is further anxious is the structure of our youth who are unemployed. Croatia is among the group of countries with Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania, where the percentage of unemployed young people with higher education is higher than those who just completed secondary education. So, unemployment of especially young graduates should be a top priority on the Croatian Government Agenda as well. Past Croatian research of these issues clearly points out a lack of dialogue between employers and higher education and suggests mutual understanding as a way to improve. In order to better understand the employers' side, their issues and discourse, a wide bibliometric research of employability domain was suggested as a road map for information professionals willing to dig into employability domain and adjust the discourse of graduate skills and competences. On much larger scale, thinking globally and into the future, another perspective of probable solution for better graduate employability arouses. Information literacy was originally promoted during the very earliest identification of information overload as a way to strengthen individual capacities for the use of information tools and thus efficiently address information problems. As today's graduates are expected to work in information-demanding environments, information literacy is certainly an area to look toward for help if not for a complete solution. These were the main drivers for this dissertation - a comprehensive analysis of employability domain that would primarily point to the key terminology concepts and models that dominate the employability domain. It would also point to the most influential authors and attitudes and the timing of the development of thoughts and concepts. All in order to bring the discourse closer to employability, enabling young people, especially after higher education to better adapt to the economy and become a valuable element of society. Ultimately, they would become more competitive and more employable, regardless of whether they want to be employed or start their own business. First preliminary investigation, published in ECIL 2017 article „Information Literacy Quest. In Search of Graduate Employability”, confirmed unexpected phenomena - the fact that there is surprisingly low overlap between domains of information literacy and employability. Therefore, the final decision was not only to investigate discourse of employability but also the one of information literacy domain to better understand why information literacy is not perceived as a valuable factor for someone’s employability. The main goal of this dissertation is an analysis of the scientific discourse of graduate employability from the perspective of information literacy. The main task of the research is to provide comprehensive bibliometric analysis of citation databases of science literature to explore correlation of domains of information literacy with employability domain. It should be done by carrying out a detailed analysis that includes the visual mapping of the employability domain, identifying and describing areas which deal primarily with graduate employment. In those areas further analysis of discourse should be given, analyzing the context of key common concepts such as graduate employability, skills and competencies. In order to better shape the analysis, four hypothesis and three research questions are set: H1: The topic of graduate employability is not present in the scientific discourse of information science relating to information literacy. H2: When looking at topics related to graduates, employability is several times more represented then the information literacy. H3: There are no influential authors who publish in both domains - information literacy and employability. H4: By analyzing scientific journals and research areas in which they are published, domains of information literacy and employability overlap only in area of education. After analyzing the relevance of the topic of graduates' employability in the scientific area of information science dealing with information literacy and comparative basic bibliometric analysis of both domains - employability and information literacy, the central part of the work took place. It was the visual mapping of the employability domain and the identification of areas dealing with graduate employment characterized by these research questions: RQ1: Which are the most influential topics of employability domain and in which timeframe? What are the most influential works in terms of intensity and propagation speed? Which terminology is most commonly used? RQ2: Which topics characterized the areas of graduate employability? In which timeframe? Who are the most influential authors? RQ3: What are the most common forms of terms skills and competences in areas dealing with graduate employability? After setting the scope of dissertation, a brief chapter on basic bibliometric methods and tools used in analysis is given. Central topic of this chapter is introduction to domain mapping and visualization techniques. A discussion on usage of proper citation bases, decision to use both Scopus and World of Science when appropriate and introduction to advanced bibliometric tools CiteSpace and VOSviewer is also given. Research and analysis is laid out in Chapter 4. It occupies the main body of dissertation, pg. 71 – 213, and it is given through five independent researches. Domains in all analysis are constructed by extracting publication bibliometric meta data (Title, Authors, Source Title, Country, Document type, Affiliation, Publication Year, Total citations, Research Area, etc.) parallel from WoS and Scopus indexes for the same period. Extraction and analysis took place between the end of 2016 to mid-2017, so retrieved data was from early days to the end of 2016. Analysis were performed usually for some shortened period like 1980/ 1999/ 2001 to 2016 and it is documented in each Chapter. Data for each domain is retrieved/constructed by searching for characteristic noun – “information literacy”, “employability”, graduate employability” in Title, Keywords or Abstract fields of respected indexes. For word co-citation analysis all the abstracts were retrieved and analyzed, and so were for document co-citation all meta data of cited documents. During first three analysis all hypothesis were confirmed. In analysis 4.1, out of 3 - 5.000+ range of publications varying from each index and for each domain, only few articles addressing employability have been found in information literacy domain: 0.5% in WoS and 0.44% in Scopus. When talking about graduate employability it is even worst - only 0.03% in WoS and 0.13% in Scopus. For all of these documents qualitative analysis based on title and abstract was performed and found that neither of them are “really” talking about employability. Most of them are dealing with information literacy in workplace. Moreover, neither of them were high cited. Analysis 4.2 confirmed that out of 70.000+ publications in WoS and 150.000+ in Scopus, very few are dealing with information literacy or employability. In WoS only 0.26% are about information literacy, and 1.18% about employability - 4,63 times more. For Scopus, despite double of extracted amount, ratio is almost the same - only 0.24% are about information literacy, and 0.70% about employability - 2,94 times are more talking on employability than information literacy. Therefore, this analysis proves that when talking on graduate topics it is three to five times more likely to deal with employability than information literacy. Analysis 4.3 first dealt with obvious larger amount of data from Scopus, for both domains, and proved YoY uniformity whether considering number of documents, number of cited ones or even total citation number. When looking at most influential authors and publications it become obvious that there are much more medical publications in Scopus which made the distinction. Further on, most influential authors were identified and proved that there are no influential authors publishing in both domains. The only ones worth mentioning are J. Crawford and C. Irwing followed by S. Webber and B. Johnston, but they are distinctive information literacy authors publishing some work on information literacy in workplace, not specifically dealing with employability. Comparison of Journals and research areas they are belonging to confirmed that the only significant overlapping area is education (21,42%), which was also illustrated by CiteSpace Dual Map Overlays analysis. Journal research area categorization showed that out of top 20 journals in information literacy domain, 17 of them belong to same area – Library and Information science. The same analysis made for employability journals showed that in average each belongs not to one, but 2,5 areas, mostly in Organizational Behavior and HR Management, Education or Applied Psychology. The significant difference of domains considering journals is showed also by concentration of cited articles in information literacy vs much wider spread in employability domain. To reach 80% of total citations in information literacy, one should read 19,29% journals versus 57,91% in employability domain. Domains are very different also by country origin of most publications, being by far US centric for information literacy (37,34%) and much disperse- UK leading US with 16,37 vs 14,32%, for employability. Analysis 4.4 is central point of dissertation, digging into employability domain and listing all the influential authors and publications, period of their bursts and topics they are concentrated on. Upon identifying major clusters, a detail analysis of clusters dealing with graduate employability is performed. Total of tree clusters are identified. Two of them are from beginning of a century (2003 – 2004). The first one is dealing with career development, especially notion of protean career, and second elaborate the problem of reduced potential, lack of talents caused by poor education politics which is not adopting to latest trends in economy and labor market. Most of authors are from Great Britain, which is identified as a country best involved in problems of education and graduate employability. The third cluster, named “students” with most of post economic crisis of 2008 publications, which in a new circumstances incorporates most of previous findings, deals with students, labour market and their employability. For each graduate employability cluster, the list of most influential authors and publications are given, accompanied with a list of newer authors working on their heritage. From discourse perspective, concept tree of terms in each cluster is formed, showing most frequent terms, their shapes and frequency of appearances. Because of complexity of the whole analysis, it was performed on WoS publications only, primarily using CiteSpace software to generate clusters, visuals and diagrams. Analysis 4.5 is again performed on both citation indexes, doing co-word analysis. It is also delivered via two tools, therefore some new perspectives aroused. It is done on both information literacy and employability domains in order to dive into differences through terms, skills and competences - terms that are primarily used in graduate employability discourse. It shows clear difference of surrounded terms, confirming previous findings that information literacy is very closed (in a discourse sense). Skills and competences are oriented primarily to gain the skills and competences of information literacy. In employability domain it is contrary. They are right between education and work - closest terms to them are professional development, career development and lifelong learning in a proximity of education and career, professional practice, training and work experience from workplace point of view. The dissertation is comprehensive, detailed, filled with graphs, tables and lists, yet because of visual interpretation it is simple and intuitive. Since it is the first one, not only analyzing domain of employability, but also comparing the discourse with the one in information literacy, its uniqueness gives substantial contribution to the information science. It is conducted on both relevant citation indexes proving that despite expected differences, they are both relevant for researchers in these two domains. It opens discourse, and in a way makes connections to both, not so well connected worlds – information literacy and graduate employability. It enables empowerment of existing models in both areas, and definitely helps information literacy professionals to deal with problems of graduate employability. At last, by using latest domain visualization methods and techniques, it certainly promotes the use of scientific bibliometric research, popularizing its relevance in Croatia.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information literacy, graduate employability, employability, scientific discourse, bibliometrics, co-citation analysis, co-word analysis
Subjects: Information sciences
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Banek Zorica, Mihaela
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 08:50
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2018 08:50

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