Quantitative research is an important tool in understanding library users; quantifiable data is objective and can be processed and analyzed in ways that bring about new insights. Unfortunately, it is better at telling us where and when than it is at telling us the whys. Our library, the Business, Engineering, Science, and Technology library at Miami University, did a headcount study to see how many people were using which rooms at what times of the day and night. There were many things we learned from that data, but in order to flesh it out and make it more of a three-dimensional picture of our users we decided to use methods from ethnography. We ran a survey and then interviewed several of the survey respondents. The result was a “thick description” that allowed us to better understand the motivations behind some of the behavior seen in the quantitative study


Qualitative Research, Interviews, Surveys, Facilities, Study Rooms

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