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Getting to Know Your Users through Interviews and Focus Groups

The State Library of NC is offering scholarships to 15 NC library staff to attend this course.

This course runs August 6- August 31.

How do we know what our library users are thinking? Listen to their stories! The purpose of interviewing is to discover the in-depth experiences and perceptions of others—just what we need to know about our ever-changing clients. This course provides participants with the basics in good interviewing techniques and tips, including interview structure, length, and interviewer demeanor. Participants will learn how to ask the right questions and follow up smoothly to gather more detail. Participants will learn how to interpret and report respondents’ stories reliably and accurately, and to recognize and correct interviewer bias. The course will provide readings, exercises, discussion, and online resources.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize fitting topics for interviews, and select suitable respondents
  • Understand how to make contact and establish rapport with potential respondents
  • Design interview questions, and understand how to order questions and follow up for best effect
  • Implement typical best practices in conducting interviews
  • Interpret and report interview data accurately and reliably.

Jennifer Sweeney

Jennifer Sweeney is a program evaluation consultant for libraries, other public agencies, and nonprofits, and lecturer at San Jose State University, Simmons College, and Drexel University. Dr. Sweeney developed measurement instruments for K-16 educational interventions for the University of California, Davis School of Education, and provided evaluation services for the California Center for the Book, the California Library Association, and Smith & Lehmann Consulting. Previously, she was library analyst at the UC Davis Library, reference librarian at the American University Library in Washington, DC, and business librarian with Cost Engineering Research, Inc. in Arlington, VA. Interview with Jennifer Sweeney

Course Structure

This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.

See the full course description.

Registration here

Monday, August 6, 2018
8:00am - 8:01am
  Library Management  

Event Organizer

Amanda Johnson