Wednesday, May 25, 2016

#QQML2016 report: Ethnographic study at Long Island University libraries

I'm at the QQML conference (Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries) in London for the next few days, giving a talk tomorrow. I won't be blogging this conference comprehensively as it isn't focusing on information literacy, but just pick out a few talks.
Just now, Valida Dent (pictured, in the red jacket) talked about a mixed methods (mainly ethnographic) study of student research behaviours at Long Island University libraries (USA). They used qualitative and quantitative methods, and aimed to illuminate students’ behaviour when they were doing academic work for assignments etc. The researchers did interviews, a 50-item questionnaire survey (including asking students what apps they were using on their mobile devices), and 32 hours of observation in the library. Observation was informed by findings from the survey to prompt foci for attention. Findings included (just to highlight a couple of things from the survey) that students found the library website confusing, that they were using library databases and google about equally, and they “were bringing their culture with them to their academic studies” on their mobile devices e.g. religious apps. Findings from the observation included that while students were sitting in groups, they were often working individually, including communicating via their phones with people sitting close to them.
There was a presentation on this research at LILAC, which is on Slideshare here and an article by the presenter Applying Ethnographic Research Methods in Library and Information Settings on at

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