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Factors promoting information usage in effective curriculum decision-making


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Abell, JD 1988 , 'Factors promoting information usage in effective curriculum decision-making', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Educational institutions invest greatly in the management
of information. Apparently, they accept an underlying assumption
that a relationship exists between information use and effective
decision-making. The aim of the present study was to identify
factors which promoted information usage (information
acquisition, processing or dissemination) for effective
curriculum decision-making.
The rationale for the study derived from the operation of
library and information services for Curriculum Services
personnel within the Education Department of Tasmania.
Curriculum personnel considered that the existing services had
no impact on the quality of decisions made and there was
evidence of great diversity of information use in curriculum
decision-making. The study addressed three main questions: What
are the information sources selected by middle management
curriculum personnel to meet specific information needs? Is
information usage related to individual or organisational
characteristics, such as position held, length of experience or
organisational climate? A related question concerned the extent
to which "open" or "closed" work environments enhanced
information use. What factors, such as library-based resource
and information services tend to enhance or obstruct information
usage in effective curriculum decision-making?
The methodological approach was one of exploratory
research. It was based on descriptive analysis via a
questionnaire survey, an interview schedule and a comparative
review of organisational documentation. A small and well-defined sample of middle management officers were surveyed.
They were personnel in the Education Department of Tasmania's
Curriculum Services Section of both the Division of Educational
Programs and TAFE. Twelve of the thirty
questionnaire respondents were interviewed. Those interviewed
provided recent examples or case studies of their own or the
organisational documentation.
The most frequently mentioned information sources were
obtained through interpersonal communications with colleagues
and ideas resulting from discussion. Individual characteristics
such as position held and length of experience, were
insignificant factors in enhancing information use. Open work
environments incorporating high levels of professional autonomy
positively enhanced information use. Closed organisational
climates inhibited information dissemination. Access to library
and information services did not meet specific needs for
information use in effective curriculum decision-making. Much
of the information that was sought was treated in a surveillance
rather than a decision mode.
Two key factors appear to contribute to the effectiveness
of curriculum decision-making. One is the value placed on the
process of decision-making itself. Two is the factor of
interpersonal communication and negotiation as part of that
The study recommends a basic shift in the
conception of library and information services. This means
altering these services from mere access to information sources
towards the provision of the information, specifically meeting
the identified needs of the individual personnel.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Abell, JD
Keywords: Curriculum planning, Education
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1988 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Ed.Stud.)-University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 61-63

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