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  1. 1. Cover Letter Tine Walczyk, PhD student, and Dr. Barbara Schultz-Jones respectfully submit thisapplication for the 2010 College of Information Student/Faculty Research Grant. Through aresearch mentoring relationship, this team plans to delve into cultural competence within USlibrary education. The study outlined below is designed to collect additional data on the topic andprovide a point of comparison for previous classwork/research conducted by Ms. Walczyk. As aresult of this study, Ms. Walczyk will have enough data to prove the validity of her currentsurvey and interview instruments with the aim of pursuing a pilot study. Ms. Walczyk conducted a qualitative analysis project this past fall looking at westernbias present in US librarians, a topic she became aware of through her own professional/culturalexperiences internationally. In 2009, she was part of the People-to-People Library Sciencedelegation to South Africa visiting different types of libraries including the National Library ofSouth Africa. In 2006 on an ALA scholarship, she attended FIL (Guadalajara International BookFestival). Finally, she previously traveled internationally in a software trainer capacity. Dr. Schultz-Jones recently presented Cultural Competence in International SchoolLibraries and Library Education as part of a panel presentation at the Association for Libraryand Information Science Education (ALISE) annual conference, January 12-14, 2010. Sheregularly teaches two courses which are taught on-location at an international school library, oneof which is an “intensive study of resources and services in selected special clienteles and classesof users” (Courses). She has successfully taken five classes of LIS students on these fieldexperiences, with this summer’s group going to Kiev, Ukraine. Finally, she has attended,presented, and spoken at conferences internationally.
  2. 2. An Assessment of Cultural Competence Factors in Relation to a Study Abroad Experience with Library and Information Science Students Tine Walczyk 10015 Lake Creek Pkwy, #818 Austin, TX 78729 512-445-5802 Barbara Schultz-Jones, Ph.D., Assistant Professor College of Information, Department of Library and Information Sciences 1155 Union Circle #311068 Denton, TX 76203-5017 940-369-8081
  3. 3. Proposal NarrativeIntroduction Many standards in librarianship originate from the United States, from either theAmerican Library Association (ALA) or the Library of Congress (LoC). Among these are LCSubject Headings, LCCN, Dewey, and the emerging RDA. Each of these standards influencescollections and information retrieval at the cataloging level. This influence is pervasive anddictates how materials are categorized and organized. These standards are routinely adoptedaround the world as “best practices”. ALA has also established criteria for librarians and paraprofessionals within the US. Arethese “the” best practices? Are western biases being instilled into librarianship? How do theseingrained ways of operating affect western librarians in their interactions with other countries?What biases do western librarians exhibit that cause them to be at odds with their internationalcommunity? How can building cultural competence in library schools mitigate these biases?Statement of Problem Increasingly, we live in a global environment; “A true international perspective is crucialto achieving strong research results and creating understanding among cultures” (Arboleda,2001, p. 162). Learning to approach people from different countries and cultures can only makefor better prepared librarians. Western bias must be reduced within the field of librarianship;likewise, cultural competence at the cognitive, interpersonal, and environmental levels must bedeveloped (Monteil-Overall, 2009). This study provides a groundbreaking opportunity to studythese factors of cultural competence during its establishment/expansion in library andinformation science (LIS) students who are engaged in a study abroad program. Comparing LISstudents before and after visiting an international library provides a dataset to start this
  4. 4. exploration and may possibly lead to the foundation for requiring an international experience orcourses in cultural competence in western librarianship programs.Background and Literature Review In the fall of 2009, a class-project study using participant observation and interviews wasconducted. In this instance, the researcher served as complete participant. An interview guidewas constructed and informal interviews were conducted. A call for interviewees was sent outafter the experience. Three participants volunteered to be interviewed. These post-experience,consented interviews were conducted within two weeks of returning. They were transcribed andcoded, resulting in rich data. A structured analysis was conducted of participant interviews conducted after theinternational experience. Six main themes were found: acknowledged environmental factorsinfluencing their perceptions, situations being better than expected, situations seeminglysurprisingly not different from their accustomed norm, situations of departure for US practice,personal and professional stereotypes, and noticeable changes within the participant as a result ofthe experience. Each participant showed a degree of change in their world view as a result of thetrip. Not only did their opinions of what they thought the conditions might be like but they alsogained an adjustment to viewing their present situation in the United States. Monteil-Overall (2009) developed a model to demonstrate how cultural competenciescould be developed in librarianship. She believed that “a primary goal in proposing a frameworkof cultural competence for the LIS profession is to improve services to and increase library useby diverse groups” (p. 190). This model (see Appendix) presented cultural competence asderiving from three main factors: cognitive, interpersonal, and environmental. The cognitivefactors addressed how the individual thought of their own cultural and whether they felt
  5. 5. “connected” to it. Interpersonal factors were observed by how individuals interacted with andresponded to other cultures and cultural norms. Finally, environmental factors involved placing aculture within its own setting in order to gain a full picture of its circumstances (Monteil-Overall,2009). The application of this model to a study abroad experience offers the opportunity toextend the original research.Research Design and Methodology In an effort to assess how an international experience designed to increase culturalcompetence can mitigate western bias in librarianship, a qualitative research study is proposed.Using qualitative methods, the researcher hopes first, to set a baseline for the cognitive,interpersonal, and environmental cultural competencies presented in Monteil-Overall’s model(2009); second, observe what biases arise during the experience and classify them according tocultural competencies; and third, see whether they can be mitigated through internationalexposure. Unfortunately, qualitative analysis is fraught with opportunities for researcher biasesor unintentional effects on the study. As a safe guard to these issues, multiple tools will be used.“The use of more than one method is the best corrective against contamination ‘because eachmethod reveals different aspects of empirical reality’ (Denzin as quoted by Zinn, 1979, p. 217). An extended case method will be used. As explained by Burawoy (1998), “the extendedcase method applies reflexive science to ethnography in order to extract the general from theunique, to move from the ‘micro’ to the macro’, and to connect the present to the past inanticipation of the future, all by building on preexisting theory” (p. 5). Additionally, he explainsthat reflexive science is “a model of science that embraces not detachment but engagement as theroad to knowledge” (p. 5). This method will allow the researcher to incorporate the fullexperience of the intervention into the findings.
  6. 6. The research to be conducted is designed to resemble a qualitative pre and post test.Immediately preceding and following the trip, participants will be “surveyed” at timesconvenient to their schedules. During the experience observations will be conducted in situ.These surveys, participant observation, and interviews will be conducted within the frameworkof an extended case method. First, the participant survey will assess opinions and thoughts aboutthe Ukraine’s libraries by LIS master’s degree students before being exposed to them. Second,“the goal for design of research using participant observation as a method is to develop a holisticunderstanding of the phenomena under study that is objective and accurate as possible given thelimitations of the method” (DeWalt & DeWalt as quoted by Kawulich, 2005, Section 4). Theresearcher will serve as an active participant in the experience and observations of otherparticipants will be conducted with their knowledge. This type of participant observation willallow for real-time recording of observations and informal interviews. Third, formal interviewswill be conducted upon returning to the US to capture any changes/increase in culturalcompetence that may have transpired as a result of the trip. Approvals: Approval for this study will need to be obtained at multiple levels. First, sincethis study will require the participation of human subjects, IRB approval will be secured. Second,gatekeepers for the program include faculty members responsible for the Study Abroadexperience, the Ukrainian host librarians and administrators, and potentially any in-countryguides. Third, informed consent of the individual participants will be obtained through the initialsurvey process. Participant Population and Selection: UNT’s Library and Information Sciencedepartment offers a course entitled “Managing Library Automation Projects”. This course is athree-week international field experience for students. This year they “have been invited by the
  7. 7. Kyiv International School in Kyiv, Ukraine to assess the system implementation of Follettslibrary automation software product, Destiny. The project involves organizing the school library,completing the migration of all bibliographic records and patron information, adding newresources to the Destiny OPAC, and providing training to the school librarian and teachers”(SLIS 5750, para. 25). This provides a unique opportunity to study international experiences ofUS library students first-hand, as they become intimately aware of the daily workings of aninternational library and its cultural setting. A sample of at least half of the students will be selected from the class. Selection criteriawill consist of being actively working in a library and having not worked internationallypreviously. All participants meeting these criteria will be given the opportunity to participate inthe study. All respondents will be required to participate in all three phases of the research. Data Types and Collection: As a result of the research process, multiple data types willbe generated. Observation data in the form of direct observations, informal interviews, andparticipant journal entries will be collected. Formal interviews will provide valuable data. All ofthese data types will be paired with a priori survey data. A survey will be distributed and collected by the faculty member (or their designate) andnot given to the researcher until after the delegation has concluded in order to avoid initial biasof the researcher. Survey answers will be coded and used as data point 1. During each of thethree weeks in Kyiv, the researcher will record observations, conduct informal interviews, andmaintain a personal experiences journal. These data will be data point 2. Upon returning fromtheir trip, each participant will be interviewed and voice recorded. These interviews will betranscribed. Coded answers will serve as data point 3. NVivo will be used to record and organizeeach of the data points.
  8. 8. Importance and Expected Benefits of Research Of particular interest to the researcher are identifying changes in thinking (biases) thatoccur as a result of participating in international experiences. Typical demographic factors,cultural competency factors and many themes (nodes) will be derived through the analysis. Oncethe factors and themes are identified and analyzed, they will be used to look at other dependantvariables including time in the profession, previous international experiences, funding source,and purpose of participating. Each one of these variables may shed some light on which groupsof library students would benefit most from an international experience. As a result,recommendations for future research on integrating cultural competencies into library educationwill be substantiated. In summary, this project seeks to actualize Monteil-Overall’s Cultural CompetenciesModel during a library school international experience to provide a path for increasing the“cultural awareness within the profession to meet the needs of a growing population of diverselibrary users” (2009, p. 175). The plan to meet this goal includes: 1. Survey Design and Delivery: We will use Survey Monkey ( to develop the survey, deliver through paper and enter after the experience. 2. Survey Analysis: We will analyze the survey results using Survey Monkey’s quantitative facility. 3. In situ Observation: Researcher will take notes and conduct informal interviews during the experience. 4. Interview Design: We will use findings from the survey analysis to guide the development of an interview instrument. 5. Formal Interviews: After the completion of the experience, participants will be phone interviewed. 6. Interview Analysis: We will analyze the results of the interviews using a qualitative text software package, NVivo8.
  9. 9. 7. Report Preparation and Dissemination: We will summarize the results from the various data sources in a report to be disseminated widely on the faculty member’s website and through journal article and conference submissions.
  10. 10. ReferencesArboleda, A. (2001). The Gutenberg syndrome: An illusion of international research. Journal of Scholarly Publishing. 155-163.Burawoy, M. (1998). The extended case method. Sociological Theory, 16(1). 4-33.Kawulich, B. (2005). Participant observation as a data collection method. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(2). Art. 43.Knowlton, S. (2005). Three decades since Prejudices and Antipathies: A study of changes in the Library of Congress subject headings. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 40(2). 123- 145.Monteil-Overall, P. (2009). Cultural competence: A conceptual framework for library and information science professionals. Library Quarterly, 79(2), 175-204.Schultz-Jones, B. (2010). SLIS 5750: Syllabus. Retrieved from UNT Blackboard website:, B. (2010, January). Cultural competence in international school libraries and library education. Panel presentation at the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) annual conference, Boston, MA.Schultz-Jones, B. (n.d.). Courses. Retrieved from:, M. (1979). Field research in minority communities: Ethical, methodological and political observations by an insider. Social Problems, 27(2). 209-219.
  11. 11. Project Schedule Work Area Duration DeliverablesPhase ILiterature Review Month 1 • Identification of factors for survey and interview instruments.IRB Application Month 1 • Submitted applicationResearch Months 1-2 • Design survey.Methodology • Design interview questions.Phase IIData Collection Months 2-4 • Deliver survey • Maintain researcher notes • Conduct in situ informal interviews • Conduct formal interviews • Prepare interview transcriptsPhase IIIAnalysis Months 4-8 • Report of cultural competency factors identified pre and post experience. • Report of themes. • Validation/rejection of Monteil-Overall modelPhase IVDissemination Month 9 • Journal article submissions, including Library Trends onward and School Libraries Worldwide • Submit “Contributed Paper” to various local, state, national and international conferences and workshops (potentially including ALISE, IFLA, ALA, and REFORMA) • Access to research and modules on faculty website
  12. 12. BudgetThe project proposed here is dependent on the availability of a population of studentsparticipating in an international experience. As such, the largest portion of the budget is allocatedto the international travel necessary to participate in the same experience. Additional,expenditures are directly related to the analysis of the data collected (NVivo license),presentation of results (attendance at ALISE), and the nominal supplies necessary to copy, print,and mail any necessary correspondence. Lastly, a minor stipend is being included for theresearch to conduct the analysis and prepare the results for dissemination.
  13. 13. AppendixFigure 1. Cultural Competencies Model (Monteil-Overall, 2009, p. 191). Thisfigure illustrates the factors that are comprised within cultural competence.