Pretest for ATII and NGML Focus Groups (March 1, 2004) | User Studies


The purpose of this focus group was two-fold. First it attempted to assess the utility of two focus group discussion guides, for Access Tools and Integrated Instruction as well as Next Generation MyLibrary. It also attempted to provide insight into the behavior and preferences of the libraries undergraduate student workers. Questions considered fell under two categories:

  1. Access Tools and Integrated Instruction:
    1. Reasons library website is used
    2. Categories of information needs
    3. Problems encountered with current site
    4. Use of and attitudes toward help functionality
  2. Next Generation MyLibrary:
    1. Familiarity with portal concept
    2. Use of and attitudes toward personalization and customization functionality
    3. Usefulness of currently proposed functionality

One female and two male undergraduate subjects with majors in Economics, Computer Science, and Industrial Engineering participated. All rated themselves as expert Internet users. Time spent as a student at NCSU ranged from between two and a half to more than five years. All three estimated their library website use at once a month.


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Six recommendations were established with the conclusion of the focus groups:

  1. To cut down on time spent referencing both the guide and the exercise worksheets, convert the discussion guide into a facilitator’s version of the participant’s worksheet.
  2. When referring to the reserves portion of the website, the term “e-reserves” should be used, as this is what students seem to recognize.
  3. For ATII: Remove the question about websites with good help functionality and replace it with something designed to probe the participant’s attitudes toward online help.
  4. Probe to see if non-student worker participants would like additional functionality to track books and requests.
  5. Ask participants if they think that the design of their stated favorite websites would work for a libraries' website.
  6. For NGML: Probe further into participants' concerns regarding personalized sites and the fears of "missing out" on important information.

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Last updated: August 2009