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Focus Group Methodology
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Focus Group Methodology

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  1. Focus Group Methodology • Five focus groups science educators (n = 38) • K-5, 6-12 (inservice and preservice group), undergraduate faculty (two groups) • Instructed to provide advice to DLESE and NSDL on policies, priorities, and best practices for building useful digital collections for classroom use • Each focus group lasted between 60 and 90 minutes: • Briefed on DLESE and NSDL, and demo of DLESE collection • Briefed on relationships between the World Wide Web, the DLESE Broad Collection, and the DLESE Reviewed Collection • Explanation of the ‘3Ps,’ how to develop importance categories • Each person directed to an individual computer and given 20 - 30 minutes to evaluate 4 educational web sites • Getting to resources from bookmarks, not DLESE • Group discussion - contribute the positive and negative criteria, then 3P’s

  2. Evaluation Rubric

  3. Results (1) - Policies, Priorities, Practices • Scientific accuracy (policy, all groups but k-5) • Complement, don’t replicate traditional materials (priority, all groups) • Libraries should label biased sites in the item-level metadata (all groups except K-5; either policy or priority) • ‘I know that you know’ • Library policies or priorities should limit the accessioning of sites with advertising (all groups) • Discrete advertising, preferably related to scientific or educational products, that does not detract from learning (i.e. no pop-ups) • Frustrated with current state of web resource design (all groups) • All sites had usability problems, but particularly ambiguously rated (0-1) sites • Presence of Distractions - Student time on task a concern across all grade levels

  4. Results (2) - Calibration, Added Value • Gestalt ratings - people agree more on ‘good’ resources (lower stdev) than ‘bad’ (higher stdev) • Consistency between rankings of teachers and DLESE collections expert • Remarkable consistency in recommendations across middle, high, and undergrad groups • K-5 have very different concerns • Participants expect library metadata to add value over the content of resources, not just to summarize • High expectations for NSF-funded projects • Noting bias and classroom uses (but how?) • Accurate and more precise designation of grade levels (and standards) • K-5: reading level often assumed to be too high • Many: grade ranges too broad

  5. Recommendations - from JCDL • Shift from growing the collection quickly to growing it selectively • Higher standard of selection criteria for collections accessioning and funded cataloging efforts (distractions, advertising, interactivity) • Tightly couple collections development and library use • Co-development model provides context for design improvements, assessment, generating contextual information and reviewing • Library – school district – content provider partnerships • Reviewing • Identifying the ‘problematic’ is as important as the ‘good’

  6. Library Resource Classroom use Designing for “Quality” • Relevance of search results • Metadata descriptions • Resources • Annotations and reviews • Role of mediating tools such as digital libraries • Models: unaided human mind <-> informational site • Predictive and Evaluative Judgments (Rieh 2002) Library systems, policies, work processes