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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

The dissertation process

August 19th, 2009

When I first started my dissertation I actually meant to blog about the process more, but it turned out to be quite hard to find an angle to come at this from. I’d imagined blogging findings as they emerged, but particularly with qualitative analysis of data there’s not many moments of revelation to be had: the analysis evolves over time.

There were two stages to the research, and three stages to the analysis. In stage one, interviews with staff involved in the Information Commons (IC) development were analysed using the Theory of Change approach to uncover the drivers, resources, activities, desirable outcomes and anticipated impact of the project – these are the five tubs of quotes visible in the photographs. In stage two, a thematic analysis of the student interviews looked at how students used the IC. Stage three, which I’m still finishing, involves looking at the desirable outcomes of the project related to student usage of the IC and the student experience, and asking if i) if there’s evidence for them in the student interviews and ii) if they seem to have occurred because of the activities identified by staff.

In stage three everything’s starting to come together quite nicely. I think the first two stages of the analysis are quite information-rich, but the process of evaluation draws them together quite well and should help me structure the key findings in the discussion and conclusion quite nicely.

At the moment I’m finishing off the literature review (currently bringing together the literature on information commons in general) and then I’m back into the analysis again. My supervisor is back from holiday on Monday, and we’ve arranged a meeting, so I hope to have a reasonable draft of the whole thing to show her by then. Compared to my PhD thesis this has all been a bit of a whirlwind: I’ve been reasonably ambitious with the scope of this project, and there’s not much time at all to think and reflect. However, I’m happy so far with what I’ve produced and hopefully will be able to knock it into shape before submission.

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