Interesting findings from a research study by Alison Head at Project Information Literacy titled “How College Graduates Solve Information Problems Once They Join the Workplace (pdf).” In short, the answer is “not very well”:
The basic online search skills new college graduates bring with them are attractive enough to help them get hired. Yet, employers found that once on the job, these educated young workers seemed tethered to their computers. They failed to incorporate more fundamental, low-tech research methods that are as essential as ever in the contemporary workplace.
Most college hires were prone to deliver the quickest answer they could find using a search engine, entering a few keywords, and scanning the first couple of pages of results, employerssaid, even though they needed newcomers to apply patience and persistence when solving information problems in the workplace.
A majority of employers said they were surprised that new hires rarely used any of the more traditional forms of research, such as picking up the phone or thumbing through an annual report for informational nuggets. Instead, they found many college hires—though not all—relied heavily on they found online and many rarely looked beyond their screens.
There’s much, much more in the report, which is worth the read.