Interviews, focus groups, and social media: lessons from collaborative library ethnographies in America and Kazakhstan

EMMELHAINZ, Celia (2016) Interviews, focus groups, and social media: lessons from collaborative library ethnographies in America and Kazakhstan. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 136 - Social Science Libraries with Asia and Oceania.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1329
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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Interviews, focus groups, and social media: lessons from collaborative library ethnographies in America and Kazakhstan

Ethnography is a way of understanding not just what people say, but what they do within their larger environment. In libraries, ethnography is used to understand how patrons interact with each other and with our information resources. Ethnographic methods includes tools such as observation, interviews, photo diaries, mapping, and in-person focus groups—and the digital age has expanded our toolkit to study users using things like digital surveys and observations. This paper presents reflections on ethnographic and user experience projects at the National Academic Library and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, and at Colby College and UC Berkeley in America, highlighting the methods used and the ways in which collaboration strengthened the outcome. A final section notes both challenges and opportunities for truly effective collaborative work—and how important collaborative study of social science research is for developing libraries that fully meet these users’ needs.

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