Wednesday, August 24, 2011
What Students Don't Know
from What Students Don't Know - Inside Higher Ed:
The ERIAL (Ethnographic Research in Illinois Academic Libraries) project -- a series of studies conducted at Illinois Wesleyan, DePaul University, and Northeastern Illinois University, and the University of Illinois’s Chicago and Springfield campuses -- was a meta-exercise for the librarians in practicing the sort of deep research they champion. Instead of relying on surveys, the libraries enlisted two anthropologists, along with their own staff members, to collect data using open-ended interviews and direct observation, among other methods.
The goal was to generate data that, rather than being statistically significant yet shallow, would provide deep, subjective accounts of what students, librarians and professors think of the library and each other at those five institutions. The resulting papers are scheduled to be published by the American Library Association this fall, under the title: “Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know.”
One thing the librarians now know is that their students' research habits are worse than they thought.