Data collection by multi-location, longitudinal focus group: an application in library and information science research

Leo Appleton

Dr Leo Appleton

I have recently published a new paper on research methods in Library and Information Science (LIS) research with Dr Leo Appleton of the Information School at Sheffield University.

This work is concerned with the data collection phase of Leo‘s part-time doctoral study completed in 2020 within the Centre for Social Informatics.  For this, Leo deployed a novel multi-location longitudinal focus group method. Fifty-three participants took part in three rounds of focus group meetings in eight public library authorities in England and Scotland over a period of three years. Continue reading

The public library as public sphere: new article accepted for publication in the Journal of Documentation

Journal of Documentation 2021The public library as public sphere: a longitudinal analysis has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Documentation. I recently co-authored this article with Dr Leo Appleton (Senior University Teacher at the University of Sheffield).

In the article, Leo and I discuss the role of the UK public library as a public sphere, and the ways in which this role relates to the epistemic, community, and political functions of public libraries. The article is a major output from Leo‘s doctoral research, which he completed part-time in the Centre for Social Informatics. The findings presented in the article derive from the analysis of empirical data that Leo collected in 24 focus groups with active public library users over a period of four years. Continue reading

Goodbye 2021, hello 2022

fireworksEdinburgh Napier University opened its doors again this morning after the Christmas break. This, however, is metaphorical reopening for me. As record numbers of Covid19 cases are reported in Scotland (and the UK as a whole), I will be continuing my research and PhD supervision activities off-campus from home. Continue reading

Using a multi-location, longitudinal focus group method to conduct qualitative research into the role of public libraries #QQML2021

Dr Leo Appleton

Dr Leo Appleton

The 13th Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference (QQML2021) takes place this week from Tuesday 25th until Friday 28th May. At the conference, Dr Leo Appleton, who completed his doctoral study within the Centre for Social Informatics last year, is presenting a paper that he and I have co-authored.

Entitled ‘Using a multi-location, longitudinal focus group method to conduct qualitative research into the role of public libraries‘, the theme of our paper is the novel multilocation longitudinal focus group method that Leo adopted for the empirical phase of his PhD research on the role of UK public libraries. In his presentation slot on Tuesday, Leo will discuss the value of data collection from fiftythree participants in three rounds of focus group meetings in eight UK public library authorities. He will explain that this approach generated a rich data set for qualitative analysis. In particular, he will draw attention to the increasing level of sophistication and depth of discussion amongst the study participants over the course of the three rounds of focus group meetings. Leo will also acknowledge participant attrition as the main drawback of this approach. Continue reading

Farewell 2020

Social Informatcis staff and students all centre meeting December 2019

The way we were, December 2019. L to R: John Marshall, Peter Cruickshank, Lyndsey Middleton (now graduated with PhD), Katherine Stephen, Rachel Salzano, Marina Milosheva, Laura Muir (now retired), Hazel Hall, Leo Appleton (now graduated with PhD), Ella Taylor-Smith, David Haynes, David Brazier, Frances Ryan (now Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen), Colin Smith, Wegene Demeke, and Bruce Ryan.

Just over a year ago, on 22nd December 2019, I summarised the the previous six months of activities of the members of the Centre for Social Informatics. I illustrated this account with a jolly photograph of us all bunched closely together around the table a few days earlier in room C34a of Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus. Continue reading

Research group highlights of 2020, and hopes for 2021

This time last year on 18th December 2019, following our usual tradition, the Centre for Social Informatics staff and students marked the end of the year with an ‘All centre’ celebration of their achievements of the previous six months. This kind of get-together is completely impossible under the current pandemic restrictions. So, instead of the usual hilarity in room C34a of Napier’s Merchiston campus, during which I use my enormous egg timer to time five minute updates from everyone around the table over the course of two hours (glass of wine in hand), yesterday afternoon we gathered online for just 30 minutes of social fun. Continue reading

RIVAL network event 3: preview

RIVAL logoAfter two postponements and a decision to move to virtual delivery, we (myself, Dr Bruce Ryan and our Edinburgh Napier PhD student helpers Rachel Salzano and Katherine Stephen) will (finally) be hosting the third RIVAL network event next week on Thursday 19th November 2020. Continue reading

Newly published: version 11.2 of the Centre for Social Informatics flyer (autumn 2020)

Centre for Social Informatics bannerThe Centre for Social Informatics flyer (version 11.2) has just been updated for the new academic year. Follow the link to read about the work of our group, including details of research expertise, funders, recent PhD completions, and recent publications. The flyer includes profiles of the group’s academic and research staff: Continue reading

RIVAL goes virtual on 19th November 2020

RIVAL logoAfter two unsuccessful attempts to postpone the third of our RSE-funded RIVAL network events, Dr Bruce Ryan and I have admitted defeat. With the support of the RIVAL project board members, we have decided to keep Thursday 19th November 2020 as the date for RIVAL event 3 and run it as a virtual meeting that afternoon. Continue reading

Emerging from lockdown in Scotland

COVID-19 teasting signIt’s 15 weeks since I posted A month in coronavirus captivity. At that time I suggested that I might ‘revisit the themes discussed here in a future blog post and reflect on the changes in the intervening period’ – so here I am again! Continue reading