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Discovering the reality from the myth – how PGRs “really” find and use information - Young & Montgomery


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Presented at LILAC 2017

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Discovering the reality from the myth – how PGRs “really” find and use information - Young & Montgomery

  1. 1. Discovering the reality from the myth How PGRs ‘really’ find and use information LILAC, April 2017 Helen Young, Loughborough University Laura Montgomery, Taylor & Francis Group
  2. 2. Why are we here? This study focuses on the needs and behaviours of the Postgraduate Research Student. Valérie Spezi, New Review of Academic Librarianship, 2016 (Literature Review): • information seeking studies of postgraduate researchers as a specific user group are rare. • There was anecdotal evidence that the one-stop information literacy session was unhelpful. We both wanted to fill this knowledge gap. We both wanted to pilot publisher-library collaboration 2
  3. 3. What will we cover? Project overview & methods Myths & reality of PGR information seeking behaviour Reflections on results and how we might improve the PGR Library UX Tips on how you might undertake similar research
  5. 5. Project overview • Collaborative study developed and run by Taylor & Francis Group and Loughborough University • Mapped the User Experience of 10 Postgraduate Research Students over 8 months • Discover how they find and manage information • Identify opportunities to enhance the PGR library UX 5
  6. 6. What we wanted to know 6 How can libraries and publishers improve the services and products we offer PGRs? 5 KEY QUESTIONS How do PGRs reach information? How do they use and manage this information? How do they use the library and what role do librarians play in their research? How do they use publishers’ platforms? How satisfied or frustrated are they with the research process?
  7. 7. Who was involved? Loughborough University Library Graduate School School of Arts, English and Drama Marketing & Advancement PGR participants Taylor & Francis Journal Publishing Communications Research & Analytics Web development
  8. 8. How we did it 8 1 • T&F and Loughborough ran a joint ‘how to get published’ workshop for PGRs. • PGRs recruited to complete an initial survey 2 • Recruited participants (based on quality of survey response) from range of disciplines • Financial incentive offered 3 • Monthly diary completed by PGRs over 8 months • Additional thematic questions posed each month • Support offered by academic mentors 4 • Focus group 5 • Findings collated and analysed
  9. 9. Why engage? (PGR students)
  11. 11. Myth 1 – Google is king Image by TopRankMarketing from, used under cc BY 2.0 licence
  12. 12. Your thoughts
  13. 13. What did they use?
  14. 14. Reflections • Google Scholar is ‘king’ but Library Catalogue was surprisingly important • Few subject specific resources • Once find and trust a source, they are loyal
  15. 15. Myth 2 – Librarians know best Image: Harris County Public Library from Used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
  16. 16. How were they searching?
  17. 17. Could we have helped?
  18. 18. Reflections • There is no ‘standard’ research workflow, but common aim always instant full-text • Barriers – Passwords • Lack of awareness of Library services • Librarians know a lot, but the researchers should not be under-estimated
  19. 19. What frustrated the researchers?
  20. 20. Reflections • Expect instant access to full-text – Prefered to spend time finding a full-text ‘good enough’ article rather than wait for the initial recommended article • Feel time poor – Convoluted routes to resources could perhaps be speeded up by knowledge of the right places to go to first
  21. 21. Myth 3 – Being mobile friendly is essential Image: Tim Ellis from Used under CC BY- NC 2.0 licence
  22. 22. What devices did they use?
  23. 23. Myth 4 – By the time you do a PhD you know how to manage references Image: Alexandre Duret-Lutz from Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  24. 24. How did they manage information?
  25. 25. Reflections • Mendeley is reference management tool of choice (even in small sample) • Recognition that previous practices might need to change when do PhD • Need to make procedures manageable so can maintain consistency
  26. 26. Myth 5 – Supervisors are the fount of all wisdom Image: David McGregor from Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 licence
  27. 27. How did they develop their skills?
  28. 28. Reflections • Face-to-face workshops have a role – Most referred to were generic sessions • Skills often developed before get to PhD • Supervisors need to be aware of (and ideally model) best practice too
  29. 29. Myth 6 – Social media is fine for social activity, but doesn’t have a serious role in academia Image: mkhmarketing from Used under CC- BY 2.0 licence
  30. 30. What was the role of social media?
  31. 31. Reflections • Thoughtful use of social media • Range of uses keeps growing over time as social media becomes just another part of the web of communications
  32. 32. Your thoughts
  33. 33. How did they keep up-to-date?
  34. 34. Reflections • Huge variety – none of the participants felt confident they were up-to-date • How do we support them to balance between being informed and being overwhelmed?
  36. 36. Loughborough Generic sessions have value Need to manage researcher expectations Services and support need to be visible at point of need Embed good research practices at UG and PGT level Accept a variety of search routes Facilitate and learn from researcher peer-to-peer knowledge sharing
  37. 37. “This project gave us the opportunity to meet our users at a more granular level to make sure that the improvements we could make from the research would benefit a wider group of people….it’s sometimes difficult to meet our PhD students – they don’t use the library building, we have to go and seek them – so getting them involved in this way was particularly valuable for service improvement.” Emma Walton Director of Library Services
  38. 38. Taylor & Francis Publisher platform-based searching uncommon Investment in Google discoverability key Need cleaner user interfaces with less clutter Work with libraries to better signpost bought content Work with libraries on more seamless content access Develop / communicate better pay-per- view models Help Librarians and PGRs understand Open Access Book chapters to be more searchable
  39. 39. HINTS AND TIPS
  40. 40. What would our advice be to others? Be optimistic about recruitment … we had a really strong response. If you want to get really interesting, granular information from your participants, then you need to be aware that it takes a lot of time. Think about what you want, but be prepared to be flexible in how you might get it.Involve as many relevant sections of an institution or group of institutions as you can because having those different experiences … they all bring different perspectives.
  41. 41. What next? • Feed results of this project into planning and content of Library PGR workshops through dissemination within Team and elsewhere in Library • Continue link between Taylor & Francis and Loughborough to explore other areas • Development of Taylor & Francis toolkit for others undertaking research into the ‘reality’ of their own researchers
  42. 42. Contacts • Helen Young – Academic Services Manager – Loughborough University Library – • Laura Montgomery – Communications Manager (Library Relations) – Taylor and Francis –
  43. 43. References • Spezi, V. (2016), Is information-seeking behaviour of doctoral students changing?: A review of the literature (2010 – 2015). New Review of Academic Librarianship, 22 (1): 78-106. 3.2015.1127831 • Nicholas, D., Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Rodríguez- Bravo, B., Xu, J., Watkinson, A., Abrizah, A., Herman, E. and Świgoń, M. (2017), Where and how early career researchers find scholarly information. Learned Publishing, 30: 19–29. doi:10.1002/leap.1087
  44. 44. Image: Valerie Everett from Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 licence