acrl podcast 2

Category: Education

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Employing Ethnographic Methods in User Needs Research and Library Assessment : 

1 Employing Ethnographic Methods in User Needs Research and Library Assessment Podcast 2: A Practical Guide to Library Ethnography Know Your Users

Project Planning : 

2 Project Planning

Timing : 

3 Timing It will take longer than you think. . .

Time Commitment : 

4 Time Commitment The time commitment for librarians is significant Scope of the study. Number of research activities to be conducted. Scheduling interviews and data analysis meetings. The window for data collection within the academic semester can be short. Research team members should expect to spend some period of time focusing on intensive data collection. Eight to ten hours per week More if the lead researcher is also responsible for data collection.

A Sample Timeline : 

5 A Sample Timeline

Cost : 

6 Cost It’s probably not as expensive as you think

An Ethnographic “Kit” : 

Notebooks and Pens Laptop Computer Voice Recorder Digital Camera Video Camera DVD Burner Qualitative Analysis Software Atlas.ti/Nvivo Transcription Software Camtasia/Morae Total cost: ~$3000 Check compatibility Check microphones An Ethnographic “Kit” 7

Staffing Considerations : 

Good ethnography is best learned by doing. Skilled interviewers No interview or interviewer is ever perfect. Don’t be afraid to jump in to anthropological study. Staffing Considerations 8

Research Team : 

9 Research Team Diverse membership Ethnographic analysis is an interpretive exercise Varying disciplinary backgrounds will often have unique perspectives. Delegate responsibilities, especially data collection components. Try also to keep your project team to a manageable size.

Example Roles : 

10 Example Roles Team Leader. Principal Investigator. Research Specialist or Consultant.

Example Roles : 

Designer/Technical Services Specialist. Note Taker. Additional Team Members. Example Roles 11

Research Design : 

12 Research Design

Defining the Research Question(s) : 

13 Defining the Research Question(s) Brainstorming What do you want to know? What could you do if you had this information? What services can you implement? Specific, Tangible Directly Observable Qualitative-- “Why?” “How?”

What kind of participants? : 

14 What kind of participants? Key Respondents? Particular experience? Different Groups? Specific/Range of Characteristics? Representative?

How many participants? : 

15 How many participants? Start small 15-30 participants Strive to be representative . . .but not statistically representative Depth is more important than numbers Continue until no new data themes emerge For additional discussion see: Mario Small, “How Many Cases do I Need?”

Recruiting : 

16 Recruiting Listservs Individual invitations Incentives Direct Recruiting Adapt to local context

Choosing Research Methods : 

17 Choosing Research Methods Multiple methods Adapt to research questions See Toolkit Pp. 14-15

Anthropological Ethics and IRB Considerations : 

18 Anthropological Ethics and IRB Considerations Federally Mandated Must be approved before any data is collected Review of : Purpose Method Risks Use of Data Confidentiality Requirements vary by institution For more information on ethics see AAA website:

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