Opportunity for applied anthropological research at PSU’s library

I’m Meredith Farkas, the Head of Instruction and subject librarian for anthropology at the PSU library. I’m planning to submit a proposal for a Faculty Enhancement Grant to do a mixed-methods study (likely observation, research journals, photo-elicitation, retrospective interviews, focus groups, etc.) of student research habits. As a librarian, I am very interested in understanding how students approach research so that we can provide better assistance at students’ points of need. Better understanding students’ research processes, how they get help, and why they do or don’t use the library will help us to better tailor our services (instructional, web-based, and outreach) to their needs.

If we receive the grant, we’d be funded for Fiscal Year 2013, so July 2012-June 2013. I’m thinking the data collection would happen in Fall and Winter terms with most of the analysis happening in Spring 2013. We’re going to have three library faculty working on the grant, and are very interested in working with interested anthropology grad students on the project. Other libraries have taken on similar projects (here’s a link to one notable library ethnography project http://www.erialproject.org/) so there certainly is useful literature out there about how other institutions have approached this. However, we’ll want to tailor our project to our local population and local research questions.

If you are interested in being involved in the project or perhaps taking this on for your thesis, please let me know! This is an exciting applied anthropology project that would provide not only a great experience for you, but really useful information for the library to improve services to students.

Best wishes,

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