Reading Preferences: Print vs. Other Formats Karin Gardner Emily Gibson Kathryn McGowan Joanne Teliszewski EDU 738 Fall 2010
Problem Statement The purpose of this study is to determine the most resourceful way for librarians to supply patrons with information. Librarians need to be careful that they are allocating financial resources appropriately towards media that will be used by their patrons. It is not only possible, but financially sound to complement, supplement, and replace traditional print curricula with digital print and media such as podcasts, playaways and e-books.
Hypothesis The research question being asked in this study is whether participants prefer print resources or another form of media to gather information. The hypothesis is that participants do not prefer to use print resources over another form of media. Instead, participants prefer to use other resources to gather information. The null hypothesis is that participants prefer to use both multimedia resources and print resources equally or prefer to use print more than multimedia resources.
Sample Participants in this research study include 20 graduate student classmates in the online section of EDU 738 Fall 2010 at Salem State University. Participants are all over 18 years old and are assumed to be active library patrons. Students enrolled in EDU 738 all received an invitation via email directly from the principal investigator – 20 of these students signed an Informed Consent Form to participate and then took the survey. The participants represent the population of graduate student library users. There are some limitations to using our classmates, specifically the small sample size. Participants will remain anonymous.
Design This research study uses a descriptive design. Researchers gathered data via a survey method in order to describe reading preferences of our sample. The hypothesis is tested among the data supplied to see if the sample of participants prefers to obtain information via print or other media.
Instruments The research study uses a survey research design. Emails to participants contained an introductory letter, an Informed Consent Form and a link to the Web-based SurveyMonkey survey. The introductory letter briefly described the purpose of the study and encouraged the graduate student to participate by going to the provided link. The instrument, a 10-minute online survey, provides researchers with both comparable quantitative and qualitative data. The responses are anonymous.
Results The following slides include graphic representations of the results obtained in the research study.
Recent Reading History LITERARY WORKS (FICTION, POETRY & DRAMA) – 80% (16) Read 1-7 works of fiction (these numbers are off a bit but clearly more than 2/3 read a fiction work – 55% (11) read short stories – 45% (9) read poetry – 10% (2) plays The group of participants is well read. NONFICTION – 85% (17) read 1-7 works of nonfiction – 90% (18) read magazines – 20% (4) listened to podcasts – 45% (9) read blogs Nonfiction reading is high among this sample.
News Preferences NEWSPAPERS - Daily Newspaper: 50% (9) prefer electronic; 38.9%(7) prefer print; 27.8% (5) do not read - Weekend Edition: 36.8% prefer electronic; 31.6% prefer print; 36.8 % (7) do not read MAGAZINES - 90% prefer print magazines over electronic PREFERENCE - Local news: 45% prefer Local News on TV - State news, national news, world news, and entertainment news: Participants prefer Internet
The Ideal Library “I enjoy both versions of resources so that based on my time and life restrictions I can still access the materials.” “One without the other might be a disservice depending on what I am working on.” “I am a traditionalist and prefer to hold books in my hand.” “I enjoy sitting in an old-fashion personal library with a fireplace reading novels, classics and anything that suits my fancy.” “I find it's easier to read on a Nook. It's small and you don't have to pack a lot of books on a trip. If I want a book for my own library, I buy it.” “I love traditional books, but sometimes due to time limitation, I prefer Internet to easily access the information.” “Multimedia is easy and quick to access.” “Multimedia … because you can get the most up to date version.”
Implications Librarians should allocate resources towards both print and multimedia resources – dependent on the collection's needs – as most participants prefer a combination of materials. Many patrons still prefer to hold an actual print book in their hands; Many like the flexibility of having an entire library within a small eReader. Librarians need to allocate funds on progressive technologies – but still keep print materials for traditionalists. Librarians should not remove all print materials from the collection... yet.