Document Type


Publication Date




Investigate how school teachers look for informational texts for their classrooms. Access to current, varied, and authentic informational texts improves learning outcomes for K-12 students, but many teachers lack resources to expand and update readings. The Web offers freely-available resources, but finding suitable ones is time-consuming. This research lays the groundwork for building tools to ease that burden.


This paper reports qualitative findings from a study in two stages: (1) a set of semi-structured interviews, based on the Critical Incident Technique, eliciting teachers’ information-seeking practices and challenges; and (2) observations of teachers using a prototype teaching-oriented news search tool under a think-aloud protocol.


Teachers articulated different objectives and ways of using readings in their classrooms; goals and self-reported practices varied by experience level.

Teachers struggled to formulate queries that are likely to return readings on specific course topics, instead searching directly for abstract topics. Experience differences did not translate into observable differences in search skill or success in the lab study.

Originality and Value

There is limited work on teachers’ information-seeking practices, particularly on how teachers look for texts for classroom use. This paper describes how teachers look for information in this context, setting the stage for future development and research on how to support this use case. Understanding and supporting teachers looking for information is a rich area for future research, due to the complexity of the information need and the fact that teachers are not looking for information for themselves.

Copyright Statement

This is a post-reviewed, pre-publication proof of this article. The final, definitive version of this document will be published online at Aslib Journal of Information Management, published by Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Copyright restrictions may apply. The content of this document may vary from the final published version.