Research:Strengthening Public Libraries' Information Literacy Services Through an Understanding of Knowledge Brokers' Assessment of Technical and Scientific Information
This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.
Have you contributed to scientific and technical topics on a Wikimedia project? We are seeking participants for 1-hour interviews. After the interview, we will send an electronic gift card ($35) to your email address. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to en:user:Jodi.a.schneider.
This project aims to understand the process knowledge brokers (including Wikimedians) use to assess, interpret, and disseminate scientific and technical information. For this project, we define knowledge brokers as information intermediaries who look for and gather scientific and technical information; choose information relevant to their audiences; transform it to fit the skills and understanding of their audiences; and share that information with the audiences through various platforms. Specifically, interviewees for this study include knowledge brokers such as Wikipedia editors, journalists, activists, fact-checkers, filmmakers, bloggers, and social media influencers.
This research project is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Our research will result in a model of how knowledge brokers assess technical and scientific information and a toolkit of services for public libraries. This will help public libraries support everyday citizens and knowledge brokers in finding high-quality information. Information about Wikimedians' needs will be helpful in suggesting relevant services that libraries could provide.
More info for participants
We are conducting three case studies on public communication of scientific information:
- Public health and public policy decision-making around the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Artificial intelligence and the future of human labor.
- Climate change and its mitigation.
For each case study, the research team plans to:
(1) collect and analyze a purposive sample of about 250 public-facing documents and multimedia, including news (e.g., online print outlets), Wikipedia pages, membership-based online forums, documentaries, and data visualizations, that report, quote, or analyze research papers and/or other scientific products; and
(2) conduct and analyze 40 semi-structured interviews with document authors (e.g., Wikipedia editors, journalists, activists, fact-checkers, filmmakers, bloggers, and social media influencers), librarians, and other relevant informants. Interviews use the critical incident technique (Urquhart et al., 2003) to focus on a recent instance of brokering scientific information to the public. We will code themes (Braun & Clarke, 2006) from interview transcript data using the MAXQDA qualitative data analysis software.
This project received funding in August 2021. Work on Wikipedia is starting in March 2023. Our current case study considers COVID-19 (through roughly August 2023). Planned topics (timing subject to change):
- August 2023-July 2024: AI and labor
- July 2024-August 2025: climate change
Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research
"Strengthening Public Libraries' Information Literacy Services Through an Understanding of Knowledge Brokers' Assessment of Technical and Scientific Information" received approval from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign IRB under protocol number 22831 (expiration date: March 20, 2027). For any questions or concerns about your rights as a participant please contact the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at +1(217) 333-2670 or via email at email@example.com.
Describe the results and their implications here. We encourage you to share preliminary data. Don't forget to make status=complete above when you are done.
Provide links to presentations, blog posts, or other ways in which you disseminate your work.
- ↑ Urquhart, C., Light, A., Thomas, R., Barker, A., Yeoman, A., Cooper, J., Armstrong, C., Fenton, R., Lonsdale,R., & Spink, S. (2003). Critical incident technique and explicitation interviewing in studies of information behavior. Library & Information Science Research, 25(1), 63–88. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-8188(02)00166-4
- ↑ Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology,3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa