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Virtual Rituals: Applying Goffman’s Face-Work to an Analysis of Live Chat Reference Encounters. Marie L. Radford, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, & Jocelyn A. DeAngelis Williams LRS IV London, Ontario, Canada October 10-12, 2007.

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virtual rituals applying goffman s face work to an analysis of live chat reference encounters

Virtual Rituals:Applying Goffman’s Face-Work to an Analysis of Live Chat Reference Encounters

Marie L. Radford,

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, &

Jocelyn A. DeAngelis Williams

LRS IV

London, Ontario, Canada

October 10-12, 2007

slide2
Seeking Synchronicity:Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

$1,103,572 project funded by:

  • Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS)
    • $684,996 grant
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey & OCLC, Online Computer Library Center Inc.
    • $405,076 in kind contributions
slide3
Seeking Synchronicity:Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

Project duration: 2 1/2 Years(10/05-3/08)

Four phases:

  • Focus group interviews
  • Analysis of 1,000+ QuestionPoint live chat transcripts
  • 600 online surveys
  • 300 telephone interviews
phase ii transcript analysis
Phase II: Transcript Analysis
  • Random sample
    • 7/04 to 11/06 (18 months)
    • 479,673 QuestionPoint sessions total
    • Avg. 33/mo. = 850 total, 850 examined
  • 746 usable transcripts
    • Excluding system tests & tech problems
face work
Face-Work

“Much of the activity occurring during an encounter can be understood as an effort on everyone’s part to get through the occasion and all the unanticipated and unintentional events that can cast participants in an undesirable light, without disrupting the relationships of the participants”

(Goffman, 1967, p. 41)

face defined
Face Defined
  • Positive social value person claims
  • Self-image in terms of approved social attributes
face work in encounters
Face-Work in Encounters
  • Face is located in flow of events
    • Feelings about face reinforced by encounters
    • If better face is established – feel good
    • If expectations not fulfilled – feel bad or hurt
    • Neutral experience – expected, not memorable
kinds of face work
Kinds of Face-Work
  • Rituals– Greetings & Closings
  • Corrective Process – Repair & Apology
  • AvoidanceProcess– Prevent Threats to Face
  • Poise – Control Embarrassment
face work in chat reference
Face-Work in Chat Reference
  • Goffman provides a powerful way to frame analysis of chat encounters.
  • Face & face-work appear in flow of transcript (event).
  • Analysis identifies instances of face-work.
  • Major categories – see handout.
interpersonal communication findings
Interpersonal Communication Findings
  • Relational Facilitators
    • Interpersonal aspects of the chat conversation that have a positive impact on the librarian-client interaction and that enhancecommunication.
  • Relational Barriers
    • Interpersonal aspects of the chat conversation that have a negative impact on the librarian-client interaction and thatimpede communication.
transcript examples
Transcript Examples

Positive Face-Work – Relational Facilitators

“Size of an Atom”

Question Type: Subject Search

Subject Type: Life Sciences; Biology (DDC: 570)

Duration: 39.75 min.

Negative Face-Work – Relational Barriers

“Mesopotamian Government”

Question Type: Subject Search

Subject Type: History of the Ancient World (DDC: 930)

Duration: 27 min.

facilitators differences librarians vs users librarian lower numbers occurrence
Facilitators – DifferencesLibrarians vs. UsersLibrarian Lower Numbers/Occurrence

(n=746 Transcripts)

facilitators differences librarians vs users librarian higher numbers occurrence
Facilitators – DifferencesLibrarians vs. UsersLibrarian Higher Numbers/Occurrence

(n=746 Transcripts)

barriers differences librarians vs users higher numbers average
Barriers – DifferencesLibrarians Vs. UsersHigherNumbers/Average

(n=746 Transcripts)

future directions
Future Directions
  • Continue to collect & analyze data
    • Online surveys
      • 200 Librarian surveys completed
      • 200 Non-user surveys completed
      • 200 User surveys in progress
    • Telephone interviews
      • 100 Librarians completed
      • 100 Users in progress
      • 100 Non-users in progress
end notes
End Notes
  • This is one of the outcomes from the project

Seeking Synchronicity:

Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

  • Funded by IMLS, Rutgers University, & OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
  • Special thanks to Patrick Confer, Julie Strange, & Janet Torsney.
  • Slides available at project web site:http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity/
questions
Questions
  • Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.
    • Email: mradford@scils.rutgers.edu
    • www.scils.rutgers.edu/~mradford
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
    • Email: connawal@oclc.org
    • www.oclc.org/research/staff/connaway.htm
  • Jocelyn A. DeAngelis Williams
    • Email: jocelyn.scils@rutgers.edu