- 2:00 PM (Eastern)
- 1:00 PM (Central)
- 12:00 PM (Mountain)
- 11:00 AM (Pacific)
Contextual Inquiry is an ethnographic research method that involves in-depth, participant-led sessions where users take on the role of educator, teaching the researcher by walking them through tasks in the physical environment in which they typically perform them. It can be used to better understand the intents and motivations behind user behavior and works well as an accompaniment to quantitative data, illuminating the “why” behind the “what.”
In this web course, learn what’s needed to conduct a Contextual Inquiry and how to analyze the ethnographic data once collected. We’ll talk about getting stakeholders on board, the process and scalability for different sized library teams. We’ll cover how to synthesize, visualize, and communicate your findings through sequence models and affinity diagrams. Finally, learn how this process can help guide your space or online design and content strategy efforts while constructing a rich picture of the user experience.
This is a blended format web course:
The course will be delivered as 6 separate live webinar lectures, one per week on Wednesday September 19 and then repeating Wednesdays, September 26, October 3, 10, 17 and 24 at 1:00 pm Central time. You do not have to attend the live lectures in order to participate. The webinars will be recorded and distributed through the web course platform for asynchronous participation. The web course space will also contain the exercises and discussions for the course.
At the end of this course, participants will:
- Understand the basic tenets of ethnographic research & when these methodologies are appropriate
- Have strategies for engaging library staff and stakeholders
- Know how to plan for a contextual inquiry, including:
- Assembling a team
- Determining size and scope
- Conducting interviews
- Conducting debrief sessions
- Synthesizing data
- Understand how to process and use the collected data in meaningful ways
- Have strategies for advocating for change based on research findings
- Feel confident in their ability to scale and conduct a contextual inquiry at their own library
Who Should Attend
Rachel Vacek is the Head of Design & Discovery at the University of Michigan Library. Her department does front-end web development, design, content strategy, user research, project management, and offers accessibility expertise and UX strategy across the entire Library web presence. She’s previously worked in libraries at the University of Houston, Vanderbilt University, and Miami University.
Rachel’s experience with contextual inquiries includes co-leading a CI as part of a website redesign at Houston, partnering with EBSCO on a faculty CI at Michigan, and teaching this web course in 2017 with Deirdre Costello.
Rachel regularly teaches workshops and gives presentations at local and national library conferences on UX, service design, and library web technologies. She was also a 2007 ALA Emerging Leader, a 2014 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, and LITA President for 2014-2015. Learn more about her presentations, publications, and more at rachelvacek.com. You can also follow her on twitter at @vacekrae.
Donna has conducted two Contextual Inquiries to date, focusing on academic users. One project focused on on research practices, with EBSCO in collaboration with Deirdre Costello, and one project focused on teaching practices, with Jisc, in collaboration with Lawrie Phipps.
Donna’s most recent publications can also be found listed on her website: http://www.donnalanclos.com/publications-etc/
- LITA Member: $135
- ALA Member: $195
- Non-member: $260
Moodle and Webinar login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date.
How to Register
The live, synchronous lectures will require attendee participation via internet audio. Attendees will need a wired, high-speed internet connection, and a headset or speakers. It is recommended that attendees use headsets connected to their computers (VOIP) during an Adobe Connect session. All attendees are muted and should use the built in chat function to communicate with presenters. The use of computer speakers with a mic is not recommended, as it may cause echo. The recommended browser is Firefox although other browsers should work well for attending.
Alternately the webinar recordings can be viewed after the live lecture using a standard web browser, internet connection, and audio out capability to speakers or head phones.