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