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Why didn't we think of asking that? Findings from a collaborative study on research behavior

Why didn't we think of asking that? Findings from a collaborative study on research behavior

Presentation given at Boston Library Consortium Networking Day, May, 2019.

Findings from an ethnographic interview study of humanities PhD. students.

Emily Singley

May 22, 2019
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  1. Why didn’t we think of asking that?
    findings from a collaborative study on research behavior
    Emily Singley, Boston College
    May, 2019
    BLC Networking Day

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  2. the study:
    Boston College and University of Notre Dame
    10 humanities PhD students
    30 hours of ethnographic interviews

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  3. the method: open-ended, unstructured questions

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  4. what we learned….

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  5. It’s about following the conversation

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  6. people help them navigate

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  7. people are access points
    “The biggest resources have been people”
    “My advisor is going to be familiar with the big names that are engaged in this discussion”
    “He just listed off items, just 20 items on the spot, without a hesitation. It was amazing.”
    “The professors are really good at handing me a bunch of stuff to read.”

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  8. the world is their collection

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  9. library catalog Google Scholar Google
    Wikipedia YouTube Facebook
    WorldCat Twitter academia.edu
    Amazon Google Books websites
    faculty websites finding aids blogs
    library databases national library catalogs archives
    scribd.com SciHub Hathi Trust
    they go everywhere

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  10. library access is too hard
    "When I want to download something through BC's databases it takes like 6-7 steps. One click
    should be enough."
    "It's not user friendly at all."
    "It fails somewhere along the way and leads to a generic journal page.”
    "I could find the articles but then I couldn't actually read them."

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  11. illegal access is easy
    "I see it on Google, get the link and copy and paste into SciHub and there's the article - that's it."
    "so far there is nothing that I couldn't find there [on SciHub]"
    The library should "Just do what SciHub does."

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  12. would we do it again?
    What worked What didn’t work
    We learned things we would not
    have thought to ask
    Need more ethnographic interview
    training
    We got a genuine“in their own
    words” glimpse into the lives of
    graduate students
    Transcribing took too much time

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  13. re-thinking research services

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  14. the end
    @emilysingley
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    Moore, Monica, & Emily Singley. “Understanding the Information Behaviors of Doctoral Students: An
    Exploratory Study.” portal: Libraries and the Academy 19, 2 (2019).

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