Friday, August 12, 2011

$hitake Mushrooms are Dangerous in the Library

http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2011/08/09/swear-like-a-librarian/

Naughty words are replaced by creative librarians to be used in stressful situations... I LIKE!

Book Prices Go Crazy!

I stumbled upon this blog post - http://www.michaeleisen.org/blog/?p=358

Being a person who sometimes buys books that are used I found it to be kind of scary.

How much of Amazon's pricing is decided by algorithmic pricing? Since prices can be updated almost instantly on the Internet... would I get a different price than a friend on a different computer simply because certain criteria match? Or the cookies on my computer have indicated a certain pattern in my shopping?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Talking to Little Girls

I just recently read a blog post by Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World that was in the Huffington Post.

I thought that the article brought some interesting points to light about what society perceives as important talking points when talking with young girls and even teens. The fact that there seems to be a trend that points toward an almost narcissistic state of mind that we're training in tomorrow's youth is downright disturbing. It makes me wonder how many American women are unhappy with having to maintain this façade in order to feel as if they're still loved/liked and the worries of having people turn away from them if their projected image begins to crumble.

This has given me something to think about from a librarian's perspective...

I think Bloom gives excellent advice at how to interact with girls - I leave you with her words -

"Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she's reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You're just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does."





Bloom, L. (2011, June 22) How to talk to little girls. [Web log entry] Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/how-to-talk-to-little-gir_b_882510.html

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Final Reflection For Class

This class has really opened up my eyes to the human/people aspect of research. I think that up to this point, I have mainly been dealing with secondary research – just having to analyze what someone else has written. I guess I have reached a point where I will be relying on freshly collected data – data that I will more likely than not be collecting myself as a librarian. This makes me think of the amount of data analysis that will have to be done and how my understanding of marketing will help me in analyzing trends and the like.

The class has also allowed me to explore the different areas that interest me and which I'd be interested in doing further research on. Being exposed to different methods and ideas has started something churning in the back of my mind… I am not sure when I will be starting on it, but the foundation is being built…

I think my niche though is with the anime/manga-loving teens. My background as both a fan and staff member of an anime convention brings a lot more to the table than the average librarian, which makes me really want to make the program extra special. I would like to ensure that the teens are doing more than just sitting there and watching random episodes. There is more to learn and enjoy from anime and manga and there are many ways that as librarians we can tie in other subjects/ideas into the program. I think I want to push my love of the Japanese culture and infuse the program with that love and knowledge so that teens will gain so much more and will have a new appreciation for what they are watching and reading.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Brainstorm...

As the time for the final project nears… I find myself needing to brainstorm… Since I am choosing to do option B, or the programming plan I need to think up some ideas for my anime/manga club idea… 


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Blue Pill or Red Pill?

For my final assignment I have chosen to go with Option B…

Option B
Write a 9-12 page programming plan using the CATE OBPE model.
Identify your sources of initial information (i.e Libraryʼs strategic plan, literature review)
and summarize the reasons and capacity for the program.
Identify necessary information gathering (i.e surveys) and what specific information you
will be gathering.
Identify the intended outcomes of the program
Outline the program/service
Outline the plan for evaluation

At this point I believe I need to figure out what exactly I am being asked…and how I will go about putting this together…

I already know I will be focusing on a local library and have a pretty good idea of what type of programming I hope to introduce…improve…

Q: What is the CATE OBPE model exactly??
A: Project CATE was developed with the collaboration of the Florida State University of Information and the St. Louis Public Library. Its major participants were Eliza T. Dresang and Melissa Gross from FSU and Leslie Edmunds Holt from SLPL.

The acronym CATE OBPE stands for Children's Access to and Use of Technology Evaluation through Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation... It can be applied to many subjects… specifically youth services.


For youth services librarians, using this helps to better serve youth in the community. Using this method helps in not only evaluating current library programs, but can also be used in the creation of new ones.

"In addition to increasing the knowledge of youth services staff, OBPE does the following:

·       Helps staff "work smart" by providing a system to measure success and specific information to use to adapt or change programs and services.
·       Strengthens library planning and budget allocation.
·       Allows a library staff to understand and describe the impact of its program and services on its users by enabling communication among youth services staff between library departments, including administration, and by enhancing communication with the community, donors, and program partners.
·       Provides accountability for public agencies, including libraries. OBPE is required by the federal government and will be increasingly required by agencies using state and local funds; it is required by some private donors as well.
·       Enhances the career paths of individual youth services staff members by adding to their professional skills." (Dresang, Gross, & Holt, 2006, p. 15)

Project CATE Outcome-Based Planning and Evaluation Model


  (Dresang, Gross, & Holt, 2006, p. 27)

The four phases:

  • Phase I: Gathering Information
  • Phase II: Determining Outcomes
  • Phase III: Developing Programs and Services
  • Phase IV: Conducting Evaluations


References:

Dresang, E. T., Gross, M., & Holt, L. E. (2006). Dynamic Youth Services Through Outcome-based Planning And Evaluation. Chicago: American Library Association.


 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hiding in the Stacks - Observation and Evaluation

I've done several program observations for my other youth classes and the time has come to do another one… though by the time this gets posted, I will have already observed my program and only some of the later reflections in this post will be written in the present…

In preparation, I gathered some information about the demographics of the community so I could get a better understanding of the target audience. I also looked into what the librarians involved knew about the topic of the program.

I grabbed my notebook and set my mind to furious note-taking mode. I knew I had to be able to capture the atmosphere of the room as well as be able to describe anything and everything that I saw. I was also ready to talk to some of the teens, that is if they were willing to talk…

- Post Observation –

I think attending the teen Anime Club was an interesting experience… especially since I am very interested in anime and manga. I think that one thing that helps me in being able to evaluate this program is my strong background in the genre, which allowed me to see what could be improved, at least in what was being offered… I have a ton of ideas running through my head alongside the critiques that I seem to be wanting to write down at the same time. [my brain feels like it is going to explode!]

Evaluating this program should be fun and interesting.

I should also mention at this point that I may be able to actually get my hands on running one of these programs at some point, so this evaluation will be able to be used to create a proposal that may actually be used at some point in my future… [fingers crossed]

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Online Research… Lurkers, Lurkers, Everwhere… Beware, Beware

The topic of lurking came up as one of the chapters assigned… lurking is basically using the online resource without actually participating… most commonly lurkers appear in message boards/forums. Since my potential research involves the online environment in some way, I would probably have to gather research in some manner. This brings me to the ethical side of things - how this gathering of data can be seen as unethical because it is gathered without the permission of the subjects, or in the cases of them being minors, their parents as well.

Personally, I don't like lurkers. This stems from hanging out in those very online environments and being active in the forums (mostly anime and manga ones) and understanding that being a part of the forum meant having to participate and that lurkers or inactive accounts got thrown out.

Since I potentially would be looking into how online reading has changed teen reading habits I would have to get data from these online environments. I think that with some being zines or similar sites, I could look into collaborating with those running the sites and see if something could be achieved through that. For others, like blogs, it would mean seeing what types of information participants have released on their profiles to see if age or other information was made public and then to try and make them anonymous. I think I would have to balance this out through utilizing a mix of online and in person interviews and data collection. I also think that in addition to being transparent about the process when gaining permission from parents and adolescents themselves, I would introduce myself to the online community I am observing and create a profile that includes my mission and intentions as well as establishing my credentials. In addition to that, I would see if my status statement would include a cool and yet open way to represent myself.

Richman, A. (2007). The outsider lurking online: Adults researching youth cybercultures. In Best, A. L. (Ed.), Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies. (pp. 182-202). New York: New York University Press.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Literature Reviews...

At this point of my research I had to create a literature review. At first I had no clue where to start… and I really didn't know how I wanted to or should review the literature… of course the first part was finding said literature.

Some key words – key word combos for research:
Leisure
reading
habits
reading online
media reading
e-reading
Internet and reading

My first steps included skimming the articles to see if they had anything to do with what I wanted to write about, which was the changing definition of reading amongst youth and the role that adults play in that. It was hard because some of the articles would only refer vaguely to the Internet. Getting my thoughts together in a cohesive way also took some time… I found myself glancing to a few citations for ideas about how to find more research articles on my topic. What I did find did surprise me because there still isn't as much on showing the relationship between leisure reading and how it is changing… other than being negative – mainly numerical data showing that the time teens spend on leisure reading decreases as they reach adulthood… I think I grew frustrated over not seeing enough research on methods of stopping that and reversing it or giving CPR so that reading would be fun again for teens. My other problem is that I am going to be working in the public library… unless a certain librarian in a certain private elementary school retires soon and I go in that direction… (sorry for the sidetrack…) anyways, my issue is that as a public librarian there is little you can do to influenced assigned reading from school. I found a lot of research that could be a starting point to help teachers see the light but feel that there's more that can be done from a librarians perspective… I have to say at this point I don't know what that is yet… but I believe that additional research will begin to reveal possible solutions…

Monday, March 28, 2011

xtranormal

On a side note... I needed a moment of fun and had a chance to experiment with xtranormal


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teen Behavior

Recently, the library where I work has been overrun with teens... they have literally taken over. The library sits close to a high school and a middle school... the community center is further away and requires teens to sign in... so they come to what is close - the library. While I am all for them coming in to hang out... they haven't shown respect for the building or the people... and very little homework is actually done.

Human Resources has come in and worked with the staff members to brainstorm and implement several methods of monitoring the library... unfortunately, it is still difficult to do when those teens refuse to show respect. Granted, there are many that are nice... it is those few that create a tense situation. It would be interesting to see how the community plays a factor into these types of situations and what other libraries in a similar situation have done. Learning about the community would give a better sense of just who the patrons are and what can be done better to meet their needs. I've been able to do similar research about a library in my community in my Issues in Public Libraries class and in addition to that type of study, it would be nice to get help from someone who actually studies behavior.

I know these teens are great people... it is just difficult to see that when they respond so abruptly to any form of discipline by library staff, even as light as a comment about the noise level.
I'd love to be able to create a survey to see what they'd like... or to see what they think the library is supposed to be. I know that most now know the rules of conduct after being reminded during times that the teen area gets loud, but it would be better if they chose to follow the rules...
I wonder if taking some additional psychology classes or something would help with dealing with those types of behaviors.

...I seem to be brimming with research ideas these days...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Expanding a Reasearch Idea

As the research process goes through various stages, so does the initial idea, topic or question asked. As new information comes to light, it gives opportunities to tweak the idea/question as needed.

Originally, my broad topic was about youth and reading and that made me delve into the reading habits of youth. As I was able to read the research that I collected I began to formulate an idea in my mind about how I wanted to go about creating an idea for further research.

What immediately came to mind was the way that the idea of reading was being defined... mostly by the adults... and the message that is passed on to youth about what is and isn't considered reading. I believe that the definition of reading is changing as more and more teens are spending their time online. In the preliminary research that I read, several surveys were showing a particular trend...  the teens that were interviewed for the surveys said they didn't have time to "read" - well... that made me want to ask some questions... What about all those magazines and online materials they're reading? How did that factor into their responses? How would those responses change if they knew that they could consider that as reading? Would their answers change if adults didn't frown upon the other kind of reading that isn't book-reading? I know there are many worthy blogs, author pages, e-zines and other online sources that can spawn further curiosity on a topic. What if teachers encouraged their students to look online, and then find a topic they like and then read some books about it?

So... I plan to do more research on The Changing Definition of Reading Amongst Youth ... and who knows, I may tweak my original question/idea at some point as I read more...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Getting Past the Gates

A major part of research is getting permission from the subjects… this becomes even more difficult when the subjects are minors. Standing in the way of unrestricted access to research data are gatekeepers – when dealing with youth, gatekeepers usually present themselves in the form of adults responsible for those children. I don't think I ever truly realized that there are so many hurdles to jump when trying to permission to talk to a group of kids. Building upon my last post, I bring up the role that ethics play – as a researcher you want to make sure that you're protecting those you are studying as well as yourself. If you make sure you go through the proper channels and have all the necessary paperwork there should be no reason that you'd get in trouble with the gatekeepers involved… unless something unsettling happens during the research itself and in that case, keeping those same gatekeepers in the loop should save your tail.

Collecting research is tough on its own, and when you need to jump through hoops in order to have the opportunity to meet with potential sources of information a lot of stress is added to the shoulders of the researcher. This is why I think that being open is key, with the exception of confidentiality of responses, unless there's a pressing need with someone's safety.

In the type of research that I would like to do, I think that I will mostly be dealing with getting permission from library officials as well as the parents or guardians of the individuals who are minors. The research question that I'd like answered is one about how teen reading habits are impacted by adults' perception/definition of reading. More and more teens are reading magazines, newspapers, and online blogs and sites. These should still be considered reading. I think I would have to approach teens, their parents, and other adults that influence reading choices. I know I'd have to approach the library and its officials, local schools and their officials, teachers, parents/guardians and students themselves. I think that I would need to also present myself in a way that makes the teens see me as a person who understands that reading can come in many forms so that they see me as on their side, like Madeline Leonard states in her essay in the book Representing Youth.



References:

Leonard, M. (2007) With a capital "G": Gatekeepers and gatekeeping in research with children. In Best, A. L. (Ed.), Representing Youth: Methodological Issues in Critical Youth Studies. (pp. 133-156). New York: New York University Press.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Reponsible Data Collection

I've often wondered what type of person you have to be to be considered a researcher who is collecting data. I know it isn't as simple as going out and asking a bunch of questions in a survey. I think taking a research methods class has made me think about what it would be like to actually go out and collect, compile, analyze and present data in order to try to prove a point. I asked myself if I could ever see myself doing it… at this moment, I am unsure… simply because there is an issue with the amount of free time I have… so maybe one day…

This brings me to one of the assignments that we were asked to complete for class… taking the time to go through the training at the National Institute of Health web site that covers Human Research Participants. The goal of NIH is to "prepare investigators involved in the design and/or conduct of research involving human subjects to understand their obligations to protect the rights and welfare of subjects in research. The course material presents basic concepts, principles, and issues related to the protection of research participants."

I liked looking into the ways that researchers can prepare themselves to gather data from participants in a fair way to all. Much of the training has to do with ethics. Three principles were identified as necessary to conduct ethical research with humans:  

1. Respect for persons – Individuals should be treated as autonomous agents and Persons with diminished autonomy are entitled to additional protections

2. Beneficence – Do no harm and Maximize possible benefits and minimize possible harms

3. Justice – Justice requires that individuals and groups be treated fairly and equitably in terms of bearing the burdens and receiving the benefits of research

These guidelines give a clearer picture to those preparing to gather research by showing researchers how to conduct themselves in order to protect themselves, their research and their subjects.

I think that after completing the training and earning my certificate, I feel more comfortable with understanding yet another part of the researcher's role in gathering data. I would like to think that making sure research is done ethically should be on everyone's thoughts just to cover all the bases, but really, until I went to the NIH site, I hadn't really given a thought to the ethical responsibilities of a researcher. I mostly thought about making sure that the questions asked aren't biased and that a fair representation of the population is gathered in the sample. I think it is good that these guidelines have been created because it really makes you prepare yourself for doing research with human subjects. It makes you more aware of how to interact with subjects beyond the normal courtesies. I hope to one day be able to actually do some actual research with participants and go back to the site for a refresher course.

References:

National Institute of Health. (2011). Protecting Human Research Participants. Retrieved from http://phrp.nihtraining.com

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Connecting the Virtual Dots... Crossing Into Reality


In reading some of the studies done on teen reading habits, I became interested in the idea that some people don't think of reading as anything other than reading a book. These days teens report that they read magazines, newspapers, and blogs amongst other online materials.

One article stated:

"Of the titles reported by participants as read for fun, 57 percent were books (with 12 percent of the books being in a series), and 30 percent were magazines. Surprisingly, only 6 percent reported that the last title they read for fun was a comic, graphic novel, or manga." (Creel, 2007, p. 47)

Even though books still have a clear presence, there is the addition of other writings.
The article also poses a good question: "When teens say they do not read for fun, do they operate under the assumption that reading only counts if it comes from a book?" (Creel, 2007, p. 48)

When teens are looking up to adults as role models, what are our reactions (gah, I'm considering myself an adult now…scary!) when we're either suggesting reading materials or talking about something interesting that we've recently read. I wonder how often do blogs or even the most recent celebrity news that was posted on the Entertainment section of Google News come up in conversation when speaking with teens. Are we actually showing them that it is okay to read those and consider them reading? Does the fact that we hide the mere notion that we've glanced at the most recent activities of our idols show a negative opinion of all online reading? Could this be the reason that many teens are unsure that when they're online, they can actually be reading?

I wonder what could be done on the part of librarians to show that there is a way to connect what is on the Internet to books in the library. Ideally, it would be good to bring teens' attention to what the library has to offer. This has got me thinking of ways that we can do that. I wonder if a display of some magazines with the goings-on in Hollywood along with several biographies would actually make the biographies check out? What about linking sports magazines to sports biographies for boys? Do the teens even realize that there are biographies about their favorite idols? Or do they just think they are all about dead people from history?

Could a library blog – one dedicated to the teens – actually be bookmarked by the teen population? What would it take on the part of a teen librarian to attract teens to the blog and then get those teens to check out books? Would book reviews be enough? Or should posting stuff about idols be added too? The blog entries about pop culture could include links to the "better" articles out there and then include links to library materials.

This could be an interesting study… especially with my new job as a Library Technical Assistant in another branch… a branch that has recently become overrun with teens… so much that staff are now "taking back the library."

References:

Creel, S. L. (2007). Early adolescents' reading habits. Young Adult Library Services, 5(4), 46-49. Retrieved from EBSCOhost at Persistent URL: http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=25546117&site=ehost-live

Monday, February 14, 2011

Research Begins... Youth and Reading

When doing some initial research for one of the class projects requiring us to locate 5 articles/studies about a topic that interests us I was surprised to find myself jumping right into locating my 5 articles.

We were asked to work in a group and were given the topic of Youth and Reading.

I started off by thinking about how exactly I wanted to approach this topic – what sort of spin did I want to put on it that would make it interesting to me.

I immediately thought of those teens who are reluctant readers, or who weren't in the habit of actually opening a book and reading it, be it for school or pleasure (ok ok – mostly for pleasure, they're pretty much stuck reading for school).

I used two databases for my searches, Academic Search Premier and Library Literature & Information Science Full Text from the San José State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library page of articles and databases. I knew the articles needed to be full text and peer reviewed, so I chose those search parameters throughout my process.

Some of the search words I thought of – some in a truncated search – were:

encourag*         
motiv*                 
reading
youth/teen
habits
read*
teen*

When the words are separated by a / I used both in one of the search boxes separated by a Boolean operator.

I wanted to explore what or whom encouraged teens to read, what their motivations were. I was also interested if any habits played a role in how much they read.
I had over seven articles/studies that were my top choices, but had to narrow them down to five which included tossing out one that was very vague about the research behind it.

I liked it when the authors stated previous research or current literature on their subject because I think I would enjoy having the opportunity to read some of it. I also had recognized and read some of it for other classes so I was familiar with the authors and their work. I also liked it when the authors were concise and didn’t throw too much data at you at one time.

After reading my articles, I noticed that several referred to the Teen Read Week Survey put out by YALSA and the SmartGirl organization. In having done marketing research, I know a little about formulating the right type of questions for surveys, so it was interesting to see the progression of the survey throughout the years and throughout the articles/studies. At this point, it would be interesting to see the question writing process and who is responsible for the structure of the survey.

One thing I noticed from the surveys is that boys are less likely to read than girls, so more effort needs to be put in on getting them to read. One of the studies involved the changed summer reading program at Barnstable High School in Massachusetts, which allowed more freedom in book choices for their students. I think I like the idea of allowing students more freedom beyond the same old assigned classics.

One other interesting thing to me is the belief that book reading is the only reading that counts. Many people don't count magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other formats of the written word be it on real paper or on the Internet. I would be curious to see how that is changing both in the schools and in libraries.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Little About Research - A Little About Me

Of what I have read so far in this new semester (in the 3rd week now), I found Carol Collier Kuhlthau's Information Search Process to be very interesting. It reminds me of a funnel of thoughts… where you start out with a whole bunch of scattered thoughts and ideas that you keep narrowing down until you get to a final concept – kind of like when a tornado touches down when it has gathered enough power/force/strength.
What I liked were the steps in the Information Search Process:

  • Initiation, when a person first becomes aware of a lack of knowledge or understanding and feelings of uncertainty and apprehension are common. 
  • Selection, when a general area, topic, or problem is identified and initial uncertainty often gives way to a brief sense of optimism and a readiness to begin the search. 
  • Exploration, when inconsistent, incompatible information is encountered and uncertainty, confusion, and doubt frequently increase and people find themselves “in the dip” of confidence. 
  • Formulation, when a focused perspective is formed and uncertainty diminishes as confidence begins to increase.
  • Collection, when information pertinent to the focused perspective is gathered and uncertainty subsides as interest and involvement deepens. 
  • Presentation, when the search is completed with a new understanding enabling the person to explain his or her learning to others or in some way put the learning to use.
(Kuhlthau, 2010)

Another particular thought that crossed my mind after reading was that information technology really has created additional confusion and uncertainty. It would be interesting to see how difficult it would be to continue teaching library users the right information seeking behaviors in order to help combat the uncertainty and confusion brought on by the Internet.

I think that I have experienced the various stages of the Information Search Process as described by Kulthau. I've also found myself going through the steps of The Big6, and I do wonder if that is because that has become a standard in K-12 schools. I have always tried to identify the problem and then try to brainstorm different ways to solve it. Another research model I am familiar with is the Scientific Method, mainly because of the various science classes that I've taken that involved formulating a hypothesis and then running trials to get results. I think that trying to come up with a hypothesis is the hardest part – and to get to that point you have to do a lot of brainstorming and eliminate ideas as well as come up with appropriate wording. A hypothesis is a lot like a thesis, where you try, try again. In a previous post I mentioned having done market research where while doing surveys you do have to reword survey questions fairly often until you get an easy to understand and unbiased question. The thought process for a survey usually starts from a clutter and slowly gets refined and when I was finally able to go and gather my primary research, it felt good knowing that I was asking for the right information in the right way.

One thing I found interesting was the standards created by The Association of College and Research Libraries that offer some guidance when collecting research. I like how the standards end up breaking down the process of gathering research and then interpreting it into a report. This set of standards helps keep you on track and creates a set of goals that you can aspire/look to during your own research process.

I hope to be able to explore more ways to prepare my thoughts/ideas and be able to turn them into future research. There are many different frameworks that can be applied to research, and since (as mentioned in an earlier post) I am very interested in hands-on research, I'd like to learn more about focus groups and how to better work with people for information gathering purposes.


References:

American Library Association. (2000). Information literacy competency standards for higher education. Retrieved from the ALA website: http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/standards/standards.pdf

Eisenberg, M. (2011, Jan 26). What is the big6. Retrieved from http://www.big6.com/what-is-the-big6/

Kuhlthau, C. C. (2010). Information search process. Retrieved from http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/~kuhlthau/index.html

Wolfs, F. A. (2010). Appendix E: Introduction to the scientific method. Retrieved from the Home Page of Frank L. H. Wolfs: http://teacher.pas.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where I Stand In Terms of Understanding Some Aspects of Research

Having a Bachelor's in Marketing definitely helps in a research class – especially after having taken Marketing Research. I've been able to create surveys before and actually administer a few in order to see what kind of data we came up with and see how we could interpret it. For this Research Methods class, we were asked to read several articles about researching…

One of the few things that I was comfortable with was the fact that I have done some research for my marketing class and so I have at least some idea of what social research is. We had to learn about the different ways to gain the right sort of information from people and I found the question writing process to be somewhat difficult since it was necessary to avoid creating bias or ambiguity. There were many rewrites to questions in order to find language that was easy to understand and didn’t create confusion in the mind of the person filling out the survey.

Experimental Design brings to mind the experiments that have a control group as well as a group on which the experiment is administered. I recall the dangers of the placebo effect and how easily it is possible to believe that the results are as we'd want them to be. Unfortunately, life isn't perfect and so it's necessary to alter the experiment to work in real-life situations where perfect results aren't guaranteed. I think that this part of altering the experiment is most difficult since it usually involves repeating the experiment multiple times in order to get a smaller sampling error with a larger population.

What I find most interesting at this point is qualitative research that leads to conclusions based on patterns of behavior. I would love to be able to spend time observing the actual behaviors of teens when focusing on anime/manga and video games or even different aspects of behavior on the Internet. I like this type of research because I consider myself a better visual learner than a mental one – not that I don't understand any of the theories/ideas that I have studied, it's just that hands on experience goes further than what is on paper. I think at some point, I would like to be able to actually participate in what I am observing in order to get a better understanding than I would by keeping myself apart from what is going on. I also believe that participation will show a type of trust/relationship between the observer and those being observed, leading to the possibility of gaining even more information from the subjects.

References:
Dr. Luo's Lecture on Research Methods Frequently Used in LIS Research

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Beggining of the End - My Last Semester at Library School - Talking About Research

I am just starting out my Research Methods in Library and Information Science class and I must admit that the thought of doing research scares me – especially because it is a daunting task… Luckily, in this class, we are not actually going to be doing the RESEARCH, but preparing ourselves to be able to find topics that interest us, create proposals and go about organizing our thoughts in order to design a research plan.

Our course syllabus states that we will learn "Research methods covering fundamental principles, processes, values and roles of research for professional application in information organizations. Students will become critical consumers of research products and learn the basic skills of planning, designing, executing and reporting research as well as evaluating and applying published research findings. Emphasis will concentrate on developing, planning, and producing a quality research proposal."

If I was to choose a research topic, I believe that I would want to focus on teen culture and teens' interest in manga/anime… how all of this has evolved since manga/anime became popular and how it is still evolving... another aspect of teen culture that interests me are video games.

I have never believed that the violence or anything else that happens in anime/manga and video games was responsible for any violence or extremely wild behavior exhibited by children and teens. I have always considered these a way to escape reality and a form of entertainment. It would be interesting to look at how the inclusion of manga/anime and video games in library collections has influenced behavior of children and teens.

I am also interested in the increased online presence of children, tweens and teens. With the advent and increased reach of the Internet, the younger generations are becoming more and more adept at not only using new technology but are relying on it more and more and are immersing themselves in a new totally world and are creating a new culture – the Internet Culture.

In an article, called Are social networks child friendly?, by Garreth Murphy, an interesting factoid came up -

"More children can now use a smart-phone than can tie their own shoelaces or make breakfast, according to a January 2011 survey by software company AVG. In the poll of 2,200 mothers with internet access and children aged between two and five, more children knew how to play with a smart-phone app (19pc) than tie their own shoelaces."

To me, this shows that as librarians, we need to be able to not only know about the newest technology, but also be able to understand its impact on the lives of children and teens. If children are learning to use the Internet at such a young age, it only makes sense that as they grow into teens, their abilities will have grown along with them.

Little tidbits like this are indeed the type of crumbs that lead to something big… maybe at the end of all of this I will actually be able to have some sort of starting point to do some actual research.


Works Cited:
Murphy, G. (2011, Jan 31). Are social networks child friendly? Retrieved from the Herald.ie website: http://www.herald.ie/lifestyle/parents/are-social-networks-child-friendly-2517819.html