This PhD study was designed to answer the question; does access to electronic information resources have a role to play in breaking down barriers to learning encountered by young people? If so, how does it, why does it and what are the circumstances which influence this role? The answers would then provide a deeper understanding of the use of these resources. This is a constructivist inquiry; sixteen young people aged 13-14 years were selected using snowball sampling to provide maximum variation. Emergent design was a feature of the research model and due to the uniqueness of this approach in Library and Information Science, in depth discussion of the research model is included in this thesis. Prolonged engagement with the sixteen participants using data collection methods such as in-depth interviews, observations, logs, and document analysis created ‘rich pictures’ of the individuals in the form of holistic case studies. These case studies were used as the basis of a cross-case analysis in order to provide for transferability of case, based on contextual applicability and to generate a theory grounded in the data from cross-case themes as they emerge. This study has produced a model of learning opportunities based on tangible and perceived affordances. This model was then used to structure the variables identified as significant to the role of electronic information resources in the provision of learning opportunities. A framework of potential learning opportunities in the electronic information environment has resulted which identifies the tangible variables such as availablity and accessibility of technogies and perceieved variables such as motivation, interaction. These vairables impact on affordances of electronic information resources on learning opportunites.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - Apr 2002|