Qualitative research for libraries

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A Ridiculously short introduction to the world of qualitative research and how it can connect to the field of library science, especially academic libraries.

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Qualitative research for libraries

  1. 1. Qualitative Research(the ridiculously short introduction)Heather Moorefield-LangVirginia Tech
  2. 2. If you want to trly understand something,try to change it.- Kurt LewinQuestionWhat do you know about qualitativeresearch?Handout
  3. 3. Our Assumptions About Research
  4. 4. Truth Is Absolute.Truth Is Relative.
  5. 5. LINGOOur view of research is oftenshaped by language whichcan be familiar or foreign tous
  6. 6. Based on NCLB, theschool didn’t makeAYP according toSOLs. GRE has a weakcorrelation to GPAIMHO, my BFF is notLOL about the 411 onher BF. 911!My HokieSPA PID isnot working in ScholarLINGOFamiliar or Foreign?
  7. 7. What to Know About QualitativeResearch
  8. 8. The goal of qualitative research is to achieve,as best as possible, understanding – a deepknowledge of a social setting or phenomenon.Understanding requires time in the field.-Creswell, 1998Qualitative Research requires a desire tounderstand
  9. 9. Time makes more converts than reason.-Thomas PaineQualitative Research Requires Time inthe Field
  10. 10. The creative person is willing to live with ambiguity.-Abe TannenbaumQualitative Research Requires a Tolerancefor Ambiguity
  11. 11. We were born to unite with our fellow men, andto join in community with the human race.-CiceroQualitative Research requires communitywith those we research
  12. 12. Qualitative Methods
  13. 13. Interviews• Conversation with a purpose• Participants views are valuable and useful• There to listen, not to talk• There to yield data in quantity quickly• Cooperation is necessary• Interviewer is involved with participants
  14. 14. Example for Libraries• Interviewing instructional librarians in howthey incorporate technology into theirteaching.Ideas?
  15. 15. Focus Groups• Also interview based but with groups• Usually range from 4-12 in number• Large amounts of data• Can be very useful• Method is socially oriented• Have to be careful of Groupthink. Everyone ofagreeing, or overpowering others in thought
  16. 16. Example for Libraries• Focus group of students on ideas in how touse empty classroom space in libraryIdeas?
  17. 17. Questionnaires• Standardized format• Very similar to surveys• Typically contain open ended content• Useful in gaining a sample• Useful in narrowing a large group down to a small(for interviews, focus groups, etc)• Rapid data• Poor return rates unless you are aggressive incollection
  18. 18. Example for Libraries• How librarians use social media in theirprofessional practice.Ideas?
  19. 19. Case Studies• Usually looking at groups of people or anorganization• Typically involves multiple qualitative methods(interviews, questionnaires, observations,document analysis, etc)• Time consuming• Very involved• Small numbers of groups or orgs. Sometimesonly one
  20. 20. Examples for Libraries• Case Study of the administrative practices ofminority female deans of libraries.Ideas?
  21. 21. Observations• Popular Qualitative Method• Noting and recording events and behaviors• Commonly referred to as “Field Notes”• Observer is meant to blend in, not to be a partof the environment• Observer is looking for recurring behaviors,patterns.• Have to be in the moment, always
  22. 22. Example for Libraries• Observing student use of learning commonsareas.Ideas?
  23. 23. Ethnography• Looking at cultural data• Culture through the participant’s perspective• Rich narrative descriptions• Interviewer has to build rapport. Veryimportant in a cultural study• These types of study can be done withphotography and video as well. Veryexpressive
  24. 24. Example for Libraries• Libraries in Appalachian Culture• Building of libraries in other countriesIdeas?
  25. 25. Phenomenology• Study of lived experiences. A phenomenon!• Study a concept or phenomenon that a groupof people share• Focus on deep, lived situations• Very labor intensive• Can be highly emotional• Highly reflective• Connection and relationships commonly built
  26. 26. Example for Libraries• Experiences of librarians who built the 4/16collection or a similar collection in ArchivesIdeas?
  27. 27. Narrative Inquiry/Text Analysis• Sometimes spoken, sometimes written• Analysis of text• Participants can write or tell stories• Takes in depth listening skills• Can rely on journals, photos, autobiographicalwriting, messages, and more• More story based
  28. 28. Example for Libraries• Storyteller experiences• Stories of storytellers• Career choice of librariansIdeas?
  29. 29. Qualitative Involves• Good listening skills• Multiple devices for recording• Patience• Time• Desire to learn• Interest to be involved (What makes dataweak in some researchers opinion)
  30. 30. Proposal for Study Should Include• Plan for Entry and Ethical Considerations• Data Collection Techniques• Data Recording Techniques• Strategies for Data Analysis• Management Plan/Timeline for final reporting ofstudy• IRB for University will have other items toconsider as well (Interview protocols, consentforms, email formats, etc)
  31. 31. Data Analysis
  32. 32. Data Can be Analyzed Multiple Ways• By hand• Word Processing• Data Analysis Software• No matter how you analyze your data you arealways looking for themes or codes
  33. 33. By Hand
  34. 34. Word Processing
  35. 35. Software/NvivoImage courtesy of www.qsrinternational.com
  36. 36. Software/Atlas.tiImage courtesy of www.atlasti.com/
  37. 37. Good Reads for Qualitative Research
  38. 38. Designing QualitativeResearch: By Marshalland RossmanVery down to earth,easy to use, userfriendly. A greatintroduction.
  39. 39. Interviewing asQualitative Researchby Seidman.If you are planning tointerview this is agreat short read.Some love it, somehate it but it’s a goodone for interviews.
  40. 40. John Creswell
  41. 41. Denzin and Lincoln
  42. 42. Writing LiteratureReviews by GalvanProbably the bestbook I haveencountered forwriting literaturereviews regardless ofQual or Quan.Incredibly UserFriendly!
  43. 43. Decide you Want to go Qual?Contact me• Heather Moorefield-Lang• hmlang@vt.edu• Happy to talk anytime about research,methods, questions, plan, and more

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