Not everything a library wants to know is available via web-scale analytics tools such as Google Analytics. Often, custom instrumentation and logging are the best way to answer usability and analytics questions, and can offer better protections for patron privacy as well.
When developing or reconsidering a library service, sometimes you can get stuck in your head. You go back and forth with your colleagues proposing different ways of doing things. You model out different scenarios, do an environmental scan, read the literature, weigh pros and cons but you still can’t decide how to proceed. A great way to figure out how to move forward is to go to your users for feedback by employing intercept interviews.
Continuing the discussion about survey design (see Let's Talk about Surveys, Part 1), you’ve decided a survey is an appropriate methodology for what you want to find out and are thinking about what questions you want to ask. But how you ask these questions and structure them within the survey itself, as well as the question formats and options you give people for responding all require careful consideration.
Doing a survey is often the default research method thought of when you need to answer questions about what people like, expect, or want, among other things. While surveys are likely to be considered the easiest option, you can’t conflate “easy to create” with “easy to create well.” Even if a survey is an appropriate methodology for the question you’re looking to answer, the questions you ask, the way you ask them, and the options you give people for responding all require a thoughtful approach...
“Learning from Advanced Student Staff Experiences” was a University of Michigan Library study conducted in 2017, integrating methodologies of user-centered design and critical librarianship.
In this study, engineering librarians Leena Lalwani, Jamie Niehof, and Paul Grochowski sought to learn from graduate students in the College of Engineering (CoE) how these students could benefit from more instruction on U-M Library resources.
In the second of two posts, Informationists from the Taubman Health Sciences Library share their research project to improve library integration within the U-M School of Nursing curriculum. Using a mixed methods approach, they are investigating undergraduate student information seeking needs and behaviors.
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