Speaking on the Record: Combining Interviews with Search Log Analysis in User Research

By Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Brittany Brannon, Christopher Cyr, Peggy Gallagher

This paper reports on a novel sequential mixed methods approach to study user search behavior within a library discovery system. Search logs were used to reconstruct each participant’s search session and create customized semi-structured interview protocols using the critical incident technique. Findings from the interviews informed statistical log analysis, which identified features of search sessions that made accessing resources more likely. Using this sequential mixed methods approach provides a more holistic way to study library discovery systems. Individual interviews provide more precise data when protocols are created using the participants’ logs. Similarly, statistical log analyses are enhanced with users’ descriptions of their behaviors in library discovery systems. While prior studies have employed both interviews and log analysis, using the methods to inform one another reduces the limitations and enhances the benefits of each.

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Published Article

The published Journal article is available from Library and Information Science Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lisr.2022.101179.


Suggested citation for the preprint:

Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, Brittany Brannon, Christopher Cyr, and Peggy Gallagher. 2022. “Speaking on the Record: Combining Interviews with Search Log Analysis in User Research.” Preprint. Published 22 September 2023. Updated 6 December 2022. Dublin OH: OCLC Research. https://doi.org/10.25333/7qsa-vr90.