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Aim and Research Questions

Digital Literacies in Higher Education (DigitaLits)


Project aims

  • To provide in-depth research into student engagement with digital texts and literacy practices across a range of contexts.
  • To examine the nature of digital literacies across the different domains of 'being a student', for example, in online social networking, within the curriculum, for the management of learning.
  • To examine how digital texts, for example, 'personal development plans', are associated with new institutional definitions of learning.
  • To consider the implications of all the above for understanding student learning in today's higher education.
  • To contribute to our understanding of the place of digital literacies in the changing status and nature of knowledge in higher education.
  • To explore methods of data analysis which take account of a range of hybrid text types in relation to research outputs and dissemination.


Research questions

  • What is meant by the use of the term digital literacies?
  • In what kinds of digital literacies are students engaging?
  • What can research into digital literacies tell us about the blurring of the boundaries around different contexts of learning?
  • What do students do with texts in different contexts, for example, communicating with peers on Facebook, using a web resource in a written assignment, recording learning in a ‘personal development plan’?
  • What can an exploration of digital literacies tell us about the changing status of ‘knowledge’ and ‘learning’ for students in today’s higher education?
  • What are the implications of this research for understanding digital literacies as contextualized social practice rather than technical skill?
  • What methods of analysis of this kind of hybrid textual data are most useful in relation to research outputs and the dissemination of research findings?