Monday, January 30, 2012

Research Question

It took me a few days to get to this point, but I think I have pretty much decided on the direction of my research.  I don't think I have got the wording of my topic question exactly as I want it, but my topic question is as follows.

How should school library media specialists determine which e-reader is the best fit for their library media center?

Using Information- Concept Map

Here is the link to my concept map:

I am not sure if I was successful in making it public for viewing, so I am also including it as an image.

Finding Information Cont.

After a discouraging start to my inquiry, I took a day or so off to think about my next approach.  I knew I was going to have to look at the topic a little differently but was not sure where to go from there.  I am very fortunate in that my mother is the LMS in the school where I work.  She just bought five Nooks for her library so I decided to talk things over with her.  After I got through explaining my frustration, my mom said she had a similar experience when trying to choose what e-readers to purchase.  She dealt with this by coming up with a list of things she was looking for in an e-reader and then bought the option that most closely fit this list.  What she ended up purchasing was the Nook Simple Touch.

Interviewing my mom gave me something to think about and I felt like I had a little more direction than when I started researching.  I was ready to start looking for information again.

At this point, I decided to try using the bookmarking site Delicious to find some information on e-readers in school libraries.  I stumbled upon a blog that was really helpful in reforming my topic question.The creator of the blog brought up the question "What is the purpose for the eReader or mobile device in my library, classroom, or school?" Reading this blog made me think that my research question should have less to do with specific products and more to do with how to choose an e-reader.  How the e-reader will be used and its purpose in the library should be taken into account.

From there, I was able to find a website that gave me some good ideas on different questions to be asked when trying to decide on an e-reader.The website is not geared towards schools or school libraries but many of the topics would be applicable.  For instance, librarians will need to decide whether they want the devices to be solely for reading or if they want students to have additional features like games and internet.

I also looked at a few articles from the School Library Journal and found a series of e-reader reviews in the form of YouTube Videos that were really interesting.

Inquiry Assignment- Selecting a Topic & Finding Information

Using the I-Search model, I explored the use of e-readers in school library media centers.  As often happens, my topic question changed and developed throughout the research process.  This is my first experience doing a project of this nature and I have never put so much thought into the actual process of doing research.  It was interesting to see how much my ideas, and even my topic, changed from beginning to end.

Step 1- Selecting a Topic
I just bought my own e-reader (a Kindle) so I thought it would be interesting to do a little research on using e-readers in school libraries.  I initially thought it would be a fairly simple process to go through the qualities of each e-reader and find one that would be the best fit for a school environment.  I did not realize how many options there are today so I began by browsing the internet for some basic information on e-readers.

Step 2- Finding Information
Thinking this was going to be a really easy project with a definitive answer as my end result, I began to do some research on different types of e-readers.  I started with a basic Google search for websites comparing the merits of different e-readers:
I quickly got frustrated and a little overwhelmed with facts about screen size, storage size, battery life, etc.  This was all useful information for someone shopping for an e-reader... but I got stuck.  I had all of this information and I didn't really know what to do with it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

LIS 568- Inquiry Assignment

Four Tasks of I-Search

I-Search is a process that includes four general steps:
  • Selecting a topic - exploring interests, discussing ideas, browsing resources
  • Finding information - generating questions, exploring resources
  • Using information - taking notes, analyzing materials
  • Developing a final product - developing communications, sharing experiences
For my inquiry assignment, I chose to use the I-Search model.  Of the four models to choose from, this seemed like the most straightforward and the model which best fits my practices.  Some of the other models had so many steps that they seemed repetitive.

I chose to look at different e-readers and their use in school libraries for my topic.

Which e-reader would be the best for use in the school library setting?