“Hmmm…Just a Moment While I Keep Looking:” Interpersonal Communication in Chat Reference - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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“Hmmm…Just a Moment While I Keep Looking:” Interpersonal Communication in Chat Reference

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  1. “Hmmm…Just a Moment While I Keep Looking:” Interpersonal Communication in Chat Reference Marie L. Radford, Ph.D. Acting Dean, Pratt Institute School of Information & Library Science mradford@prodigy.net Joseph A. Thompson, Maryland Ask Us Now! Jthompson@bcpl.net ALA, Orlando, FL June 26, 2004

  2. Theoretical Framework Watzlawick, Beavin & Jackson (1967) (Pragmatics of Human Communication) • All messages have both a content and relational dimension. • Content = Information (WHAT) • Relational = Relationship Aspects (HOW)

  3. ResearchQuestions • What relational dimensions are present in chat transcripts? • Are there differences in the relational dimensions/patterns of chat users & librarians? If so, what are they? • How do users & librarians compensate for lack of nonverbal cues in chat reference? • What is the relationship between content & relational dimensions in determining the quality of chat reference encounters?

  4. Methodology • Pilot Study - Results Reported at VRD Conference, 2004 • Data - 44 S.S. Green Award Transcripts (courtesy LSSI) • Main Study • Data – 245 Randomly Selected Transcripts • State-wide service – Maryland AskUsNow • Qualitative Analysis – 3 Coders • Refinement of category scheme from Pilot Study • Careful reading/analysis • Identification of patterns

  5. Results • Interesting Results! • Refinement of Categories Developed in Pilot Study • Development of Recommendations • Facilitators • Avoiding Barriers • Dealing with Rude/Impatient Users

  6. Librarians – Relational Facilitators (N=245) • Rapport Building 203 (83%) • Deference 110 (45%) • Compensating 4 Lack of NV Cues 97 (40%) • Greeting Ritual-Unscripted 76 (31%) • Closing Ritual-Unscripted 69 (28%)

  7. Users – Relational Facilitators N=245 • Deference 170 (69%) • Thanks (131-53%) • Rapport Building 127 (52%) • Closing Ritual 83 (34%) • Compensation 4 Lack of NV Cues 76 (31%) • Greeting Ritual 35 (14%)

  8. Librarians – Relational Barriers (N=245) • Relational Disconnect / Failure to Build Rapport 43 (18%) • Robotic Answer (13 – 5%) • Reprimanding (10 - 4%) • Limits Time (10 – 4%) • Lack of attention – Ignoring Q (8 – 3%) • Condescending (5 - 2%)

  9. Librarians – Relational Barriers • More Relational Disconnect / Failure to Build Rapport 43 (18%) • Ignoring User Self-Disclosure (4 - 2%) • Misunderstands User’s Question (4 – 2%) • Inappropriate Script (4 – 2%) • Failing to Offer Reassurance (3 - 1%) • Mirrors User’s Rude Behavior (2 – 1%) • Disconfirming (2 – 1%) • Ignoring humor (1<1%) • Use of Inappropriate Language/Profanity (1<1%)

  10. Librarian – Relational Barriers Cont. • Negative Closure 51 (21%) • Librarian Continues After User has Disconnected (18-7%) • Abrupt Ending (16 – 7%) • Disclaimer (9 – 4%) • Premature/Attempted Closing (8 – 3%) • Ignoring cues user wants more help (5 – 2%) • Premature Referral (3 – 1%) • Sends to Google (2 – 1%)

  11. Users – Relational Barriers N=245 • Closing Probs/Signing Off Abruptly (95-39%) • Relational Disconnect (33 - 13%) • Impatience (24 – 10%) • Poor Attitude/Rude/Insulting/FLAMING (10 - 4%) • Disconfirming (7 – 3%) • Use of Profanity/Inappropriate Language (5 – 2%) • Failure/Refusal to Provide Information When Asked (4 - 2%) • Derisive use of spelling out NV behaviors (2 – 1%) • Mistakes/Misunderstandings (2-1%)

  12. Recommendations - Facilitating Interpersonal Communication in Virtual Reference Encounters • General Considerations • Basic interpersonal skills – transferable. • Interpersonal dynamics are present & important. • Time spent is mostly in searching. • Greeting • Personal greeting • Look for and respond to self-disclosure • Strategies for Building Rapport • Self-disclose as appropriate • Acknowledgment of user’s self-disclosure • Inclusion & Reassurance

  13. Recommendations • Compensation for Lack of Nonverbal Cues • Mirror user’s style • Use ellipse (can prevent premature closure by users) Awareness of appropriate self-disclosure • Closing • Relational Barriers to Avoid

  14. Recommendations – Encounters with Rude/Impatient Users • Use interpersonal skills • Be polite/professional • Apologize as appropriate • Strategies for impatient users • Thank them for complaints • Realize rude users are in the minority • Do not take rude behavior personally

  15. Future Directions Evaluation Issues & Next Steps • Research Question Remains Unanswered • What is the relationship between content & relational dimensions in determining the quality of chat reference encounters? • Interviews/focus groups/surveys with librarians & chat users • Development of evaluation model with both relational & content dimensions

  16. Implications for Practice & Training • Joe Thompson – Maryland AskUsNow!