Observing Student Researchers In Their Native Habitat
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Currently underway is a field research project involving anthropological observations of the student research process. This ethnographic study uses contextual interviews to observe students who are actively engaged in academic research for actual course assignments. The study is geared toward understanding how students approach their research tasks, where the research is performed, what tools are used and how/if library resources are accessed. Particularly of interest will be how students begin their research, how they regard web search engines and how they interact with scholarly electronic resources. Participating in the study are students of a major state university in both undergraduate and graduate studies from a variety of disciplines. The study is being conducted anonymously to avoid any student bias; they have no knowledge of the sponsoring organization --- no connection to the library. The study employs the new UserVue product from TechSmith (makers of Morae) as well as Skype for capturing user audio. The presentation will include a review of study methods and key findings, including select audio and video clips. Learning outcomes: Learn how users begin their research, how they approach a research task and how they interact with electronic resources and online services. Learn how and when researchers turn to web search engines. Learn how and when users typically turn to library resources. Learn what access points to the library are most used and what's important to make them useful.