Context I am an Academic Librarian at Huddersfield University. I work with a team of Subject Librarians to support the School of Business and also Computing and Engineering. In our experience, many students either don’t use the library or they make use of the computers that we have within the building but don’t use the information resources. This observation is backed up by data from the Library Impact Data Project and focus groups I conducted with first year Business Management students as part of this project. Analysis from the results of this study revealed a strong correlation between e-resources use, book borrowing and student attainment across all disciplines not only at this university but across the 7 institutions with which we benchmarked our data. All our subject librarians have been equipped with iPAd or Android tablets to promote our resources to library non users away from the traditional library environment to social spaces around the university. These spaces include cafes, common rooms and the Students Union.
My study will evaluate the use of tablets and their effectiveness in supporting teaching on the move and in reaching potential users in their own environment.
Research methods will comprise an on-line questionnaire completed by students to ascertain if the student is a regularly library user and if after their encounter with the roving librarian their usage will increase. It will also feature interviews (or questionnaire) with roving subject librarians to determine their experience and observations carried out by myself roving in the Business School and Computing and Engineering. Librarians also meet together quite regularly to discuss tablet usage and recommend useful apps to download.
Reliability: Each roving experience going to be slightly different depending upon people involved (different techniques – range from aggressive marketing to students choosing to approach the librarian) and location and it may be difficult to establish “the norm”.
Validity: Questionnaire we get students to answer features 3 questions that determine students’ use of physical/electronic library and likelihood of using them after talking to the roving librarian
Ethics: I will get the consent of the roving librarian before conducting my research. Do I need to get the consent of the student before observing them talking to the roving librarian?
Bias: Observations of the encounter between student and librarian may affect the results, e.g. the librarian/student will be conscious of being watched and this may influence the interaction (especially as I am a level above some of the librarians) and could affect the outcome
References Stone, Graham, Pattern, David and Ramsden, Bryony (2011) Does library use affect student attainment? A preliminary report on the Library Impact Data Project. LIBER Quarterly , 21 (1). pp. 5-22
O’Leary, Z. (2010) The essential guide to doing your research project. London: Sage.