The impact of cultural capital on searching as strategic exploration in incoming first-year students

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Information literacy is important for students' academic and professional development as they begin to engage with the world as adults in college. However, students' information literacy may be influenced by the different forms of capital they possess, such as economic, social, and, potentially, their cultural capital. Cultural capital is a concept developed by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu which addresses the capital individuals possess within a society that exists beyond economic and social spheres. Much research exists exploring cultural capital and its impact on the educational outcomes of students, but it has yet to be explored in depth regarding libraries and, specifically, information literacy. This study addresses that research gap by analyzing the relationship between students' information literacy and their acquired cultural capital before they start their first semester of post-secondary education. The study explores multiple forms of cultural capital, including students' hobbies and activities, educational backgrounds, and the involvement of their parents in their education. Analysis of the distributed survey examined cultural capital through assessing students' reading habits and parental involvement as well as its influence on students' information literacy skills, specifically those related to the “Searching as Strategic Exploration” frame of the ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102807
JournalJournal of Academic Librarianship
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences

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