Presentation on theme: "“Hmmm…Just a Moment While I Keep Looking:” Interpersonal Communication in Chat Reference Marie L. Radford, Ph.D. Acting Dean, Pratt Institute School of."— Presentation transcript:
“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 Joseph A. Thompson, Maryland Ask Us Now! ALA, Orlando, FL June 26, 2004
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)
Research Questions 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?
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
Results Interesting Results! Refinement of Categories Developed in Pilot Study Development of Recommendations Facilitators Avoiding Barriers Dealing with Rude/Impatient Users
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%)
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%)
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%)
Users – Relational Barriers N=245 Closing Probs/Signing Off Abruptly (95-39%) Relational Disconnect ( %) 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%)
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
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
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
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
Implications for Practice & Training Joe Thompson – Maryland AskUsNow!