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How students *really* do research - Findings from the Research Confession Booth

Presentation given at Designing For Digital on February 26, 2015.

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How students *really* do research - Findings from the Research Confession Booth

  1. 1. How do students really do research? Revelations from the Research Confession Booth Odile Harter, Harvard University Lisa Junghahn, University of California, Irvine Emily Singley, Harvard University How do students really do research? findings from the Research Confession Booth Odile Harter, Harvard University Lisa Junghahn, UC Irvine Emily Singley, Harvard University
  2. 2. Harvard Library Search & Discovery Initiative Education Subgroup, 2013-present
  3. 3. 1. Background 1.1. Provide the scientific background, rationale for the study, and importance in adding to existing knowledge. The initial goal of the study is to obtain a better understanding of how patrons use library resources and what they most value about the resources we do have. This information will be used to inform the design and implementation of the Library’s new discovery platform. As the Library keeps pace with a constantly changing research environment, the study will continue to investigate how researchers interact with and feel about library products and services. Harvard Library has access to several measures of patron behavior, including user surveys, focus groups, and usability studies, but none of these offer sufficiently granular or contextualized information for us to understand the whole picture of what our users want. This study will collect information that is granular, qualitative, and not tied to a particular website or library vendor. It will also provide a recognizable site for library patrons to quickly and easily give very specific feedback about their research experiences. Study protocol
  4. 4. Ingredients:  1-3 well-traveled campus locations with ambient noise  10-20 candy and granola bars  1 poster  20 info sheets  1 laptop  1 wireless mouse  1 cardboard box  1 table & chair  1 Quicktime screen recording  1 Qualtrics survey  1 task  USB drives  1 IRB approval Study protocol
  5. 5. TASK 1 “Please show us a feature you really like in a resource you use to do research.” Study protocol
  6. 6. TASK 2 “Please walk us through a situation in which you were trying to find information to use in your coursework and encountered some kind of obstacle or snag that interfered with your ability to find, obtain, or use the information you were seeking.” Study protocol
  7. 7. Status Undergraduate 15 Graduate 3 Faculty 1 Experience (self-identified) Novice 7 Intermediate 11 Expert 1 Study protocol Participants:
  8. 8. Pros and cons:  Flexible  Nimble  Qualitative  Semi-controlled/slightly artificial  Small dataset Study protocol
  9. 9. What we’re learning:  Global picture – which systems are actually used  Navigation behaviors  Contextualized usage - how and why systems are used Findings
  10. 10. Category Resource Use Harvard library HOLLIS catalog 10 Harvard Library website 1 Databases A-Z list 1 Fulfillment services Scan & Deliver 1 Borrow Direct 1 Interlibrary Loan 1 Open web Google Scholar 5 Google 5 Wikipedia 1 Databases PubMed 4 Academic Search Premier 1 JSTOR 1 Findings
  11. 11. Navigation:  Typing in memorized URL  Googling site name  Navigating via Harvard Library homepage or intranet Findings
  12. 12. Features identified as important:  Confidence & comfort  Filtering  Getting relevant results: o topical o level of detail o academic results  Full-text fulfillment  Citation management options “This button right here is the best:” Findings
  13. 13. Library as difficult, confusing, annoying: Findings “I sometimes feel like I don't know how to use the right ‘ands’ and ‘ors’ and quotation marks." "I really don’t like "getting it" from interlibrary loan - I feel like that's really annoying. So I actually usually just try to find it on my own.” “The resource I use most would probably be JSTOR, because I’ve known that since high school (…) I’m not the best at research.” “See, this is the point where I usually give up and just go ask the research librarian for help, you know, because I don’t know how to do this stuff.”
  14. 14. Preference for open web:  Quick fulfillment  Familiar interface  Trust in how it’s interpreting your query  Greater tolerance for uncertainty  Ability to match effort invested to information need Findings
  15. 15. User interface problems:  Invisible or incomprehensible button labels  Complicated layouts Findings
  16. 16. Example of user unable to find PubMed full-text link
  17. 17. Silo-to-silo confusion:  What resource am I in? Findings
  18. 18.  Other tasks we might try with this study  Further analysis of the findings  Companion studies  Effects on our daily work Future research
  19. 19. Thank you! Questions?