Focus group analysis

The focus group analysis has just been released to each individual collaborating institution.  The groups were designed to pull out additional advising data on usage of library resources and facilities, asking students how much they used library facilities and resources, where they chose to use the resources, any difficulties they experienced, and whether the library satisfied their information and learning space requirements.

Students volunteered with a small reimbursement for their time and involvement, with varying success at each institute (if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll have already seen De Montfort’s focus group discussion), but resulting in a huge amount of data to analyse!

The coding process involved reading through transcripts to bring out broad themes, and refining the themes into smaller groups where applicable.  Transcripts were then re-read for the analysis itself, with the aim to not just code them, but to use thematic clues to develop and elaborate on what students discussed.  For example, a student discussing problems they had encountered using a resource may simultaneously be  indicating non-verbally that their student group could benefit from more in-depth information literacy training, or that there could be improved subscription options for that subject area.

Analysis was also based around frequency of mentions: the more often a code or theme was discussed, the more important an element it represented in student library use/non-use.  This method can be problematic in that it doesn’t always demonstrate emphasis and enthusiasm materialising in the group discussion, or indeed can be heavily influenced by current issues the students are experiencing, but it does still demonstrate what is important to the participant at that time and thus what is meaningful to them.  Additionally, when used in combination with other codes and the analysis technique above, it can result in a revealing image of student experiences and usage, and provide material to lead further research at a later date if appropriate.