There is growing support for the pedagogical notion of meeting students where they are. The idea behind it is that evaluating what a student knows about the subject at hand and how they conceptualize it is a good starting point for advancing their knowledge on that subject. When it comes to information literacy (more an activity than a subject), this practice is especially important. Means of seeking information have changed drastically in the last few decades and instructional design has been shifting toward how to best teach students who grew up on the internet. The ways that those students innately search for and evaluate information is very different from that of a generation ago. To boot, because of the extreme specificity of the domain, music students are often left out of such conversations. And that’s where this internship comes in: how do college music students search for information?
The plan this semester is to conduct a research study and (hopefully) get it published. There is a logical and standard process to research studies, and we’ll mostly be following that. I’ll be working with Andrew Asher (IU’s assessment librarian) to guide the design of the study and conduct the analysis; Misti Shaw (Head, Public Services & Outreach at Cook Music Library) will be offering input on the content side. Along the way, I’ll be learning the ins and outs of research proposals, grant funding, IRB applications, recruiting participants, running interviews, and qualitative analysis.
- Preparation & design
- Review relevant literature and form research question(s)
- Envision the data to be collected (i.e. what pieces of information do we want to end up with?)
- Design a method to collect the data
- Build an instrument based on that method
- Determine the unit of analysis (who will be the subjects for the study?)
- Test drive the data collection instrument
- Is it understandable?
- Does it produce the usable data?
- Obtain IRB approval
- Recruiting messages
- Any data to be collected
- Protocol for subject interaction (what will be said, what will be asked, what/how will it be recorded)
- Form the sample
- Advertise the study in a way that will make the intended audience aware of it
- From the people that volunteer for the study, choose a sample that is balance and/or representative
- Collect the data
- Run the interviews and record them
- Audio recordings need to be transcribed for coding
- Analyze the data
- Transcriptions and summaries need to be coded
- Analyze codes and revise
- Find patterns in the codes and data
- Write it up
Some weeks will involve more time commitment than others – the data collection and analysis phases will be the most time consuming. Right now, Misti and I are testing and revising the interview protocols. Soon, Andrew and I will start on the IRB application and everything that goes along with that. Because of my work schedule, a lot of this work will be done remotely. I’m meeting with Andrew on Mondays to discuss what I’ve been working on and to set goals for what I need to accomplish next.