Research and Teaching Relies on Content Diversity

Faculty use multiple content types in their work and they’re teaching students to look beyond journals

As digital materials have increasingly made their way into researcher workflows, the mix of content being used to support research and teaching have evolved. In 2012, Ithaka S&R’s renowned Faculty Survey found that faculty were using and assigning a widening variety of content including primary sources, working papers, conferences proceedings and monographs.

In 2014, a ProQuest survey revealed similar results: while traditional peer-reviewed journals were of key importance to users, they were only one of several types materials researchers and faculty were tapping to conduct their work.

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This paper explores data from ProQuest’s 2017 survey of 410 respondents from a global population of graduate level through faculty researchers. Two key areas were probed:

  • • What types of information do you use in your research?
  • • What types of information do you direct your students to?

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Now in 2017, ProQuest’s most recent survey confirms that the importance of content diversity remains stable, but the resources that are in-demand are changing. Print books continue to be the most commonly used non-journal resource, but have slipped somewhat in importance. The use of video and blogs in research and teaching have risen significantly, and ebooks continue trending upward as well.


Content Diversity Infographic

Peer-reviewed journals are only part of the story for today’s faculty and student

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ACRL/Choice Webinars: Understanding the Evolving Information Needs of Researchers

The information needs of researchers change constantly. New technologies. Changes in curricula. The emergence of new subject areas and disciplines. These are just a few of the factors that impact the kinds of content researchers need, and the ways they access it.

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Content Diversity Datasheet

Research is changing. Users are exploring more content types than ever before, mixing newspapers, ebooks, video, documents, reports and more to strengthen research.

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Researchers Demand More Diversity in Content Sources

Research and teaching increasingly depends on a mix of content types beyond traditional scholarly journals, survey finds

Read the blog to find out more


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