Abstract

The goal of this research category work-in-progress study is to investigate the information literacy needs and expectations of employers who hire new engineering and technology graduates, through content analysis of job postings. It seeks to answer two questions: (1) Which information sources do employers expect engineering and technology graduates to know and to use on the job and (2) in what ways are new engineering and technology hires expected to interact with information?

A collection of 1502 entry-level job postings aimed at undergraduate engineering and engineering technology students was gathered from a university career center database for the time period May 2017 to May 2018. Three researchers coded a sample of the job postings to calibrate and to develop a code book consisting of the types of information mentioned (journal articles, laws and regulations, technical requirements and specifications, product literature, technical reports, patents, and technical standards and codes) and specific ways of interacting with information (gathering, learning, evaluating, using, managing, creating, and communicating). Next, each researcher utilized NVivo to analyze a subset of the postings using the code book. The researchers will conduct additional analysis in order to make sure the data is reliably coded, but some trends are already obvious.

Preliminary results suggest that employers often place their emphasis on different sources of information than those traditionally emphasized in academic settings. Job postings that deal with information sources list experience with standards and codes, both in general and citing specific organizations or documents, as the most common information source requirement. In contrast, journal articles and conference proceedings, often the focus of IL instruction, are barely mentioned in this data set. These findings indicate the need for a new approach to information literacy by engineering educators and librarians to better align with workplace information use.

Keywords

engineering technology, engineering, undergraduates, workplace information literacy

Date of this Version

10-2020

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