Now that we’ve got your attention with our shameless click bait title, we would genuinely like to offer you a free doughnut in exchange for just ten minutes of your time.
We are running a research project that is looking at what people bring to the School with them every day to help them study, learn, and work. We’ll be hanging out near the Information Centre/Reception (ground floor) from 12- 2 pm every day next week (except Tuesday, sorry) with boxes and boxes of lovely, fresh, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, all in the name of Information Science!
So, what do we need from you? We would like to look in your bag in a totally non-creepy way. You may have seen lovely photos of what people carry with them every day online, with whole communities sharing images and experiences. Here’s a great example on Flickr.
We’ll ask you to take out the items from your bag that you bring to support your studies, along with anything else you want to include. This can be food, headphones…whatever you want. Don’t worry though, we don’t need to see everything so its entirely your decision what you show us.
We’ll then take a quick arty snapshot of your stuff laid out beautifully next to your bag and then we’ll ask you a few questions about why you chose these items and what they mean to you. We’ll record this chat so we can analyse it later to improve our service and to write up the study for an academic journal. Fancy!
Everything will be anonymised and we’ll get you to sign a consent form and everything so you know exactly what we’re asking of you. We’ll also chat to you behind a screen so no-one else can see the contents of your bag. This study has been recorded with the School’s Research Ethics Review Group.
So, why are we doing this study?
We’ve done studies with our students before such as observing how they work to getting them to draw maps of their work spaces. We’re interested in understanding you all better and turning that understanding into deliverable services that are meaningful to you. Now for the technical anthropological bit: we’ll be using a combination of semi-structured interview, personal inventories, micro touchstone tour, and photo study techniques to really unpack what’s in your bag (pun intended!) and what is most important to you.
To show you what we bring to work every day, Ange and I took a look inside our own bags to see what we had hiding in there. Some of what we packed actually surprised us as we didn’t realise how important small things were to us.
‘I’m studying part time at the University of Manchester and it involves me reading lots of academic papers. As my course is delivered almost entirely online, this may be what you think the iPad is for but you’d be wrong. I commute into Cambridge each morning for about an hour on a route that has no 3G coverage, so I’m stuck studying the old fashioned way: printing out my articles and annotating them with my trusty highlighter. Easily the most useful study tool is my clipboard which allows me to write comfortably on the bus and makes me look like I’m conducting a survey… The technology is really important to me too. I enjoy listening to audiobooks when I’m not studying, and I can do all this and more on my iPhone. The iPad is my connection to email when I’m on the go. I could do this with the iPhone, but I haven’t set up the email function on it properly, and this is an embarrassing workaround 🙁 Charger and headphones because I always end up needing them. The books, well, those are if I finish the articles on the clipboard before I get into work… doesn’t usually happen!’ – Ange
And what’s in Georgina’s bag?
‘I’m also studying part time but at the Open University which means I have to read a lot from the set course texts that they send us. I often bring one of my course books in to work with my trusty pencil case (I know, I’m 12 years old again) which has my highlighter pens and other stationery in it in case I need to do some scary maths work. However, my plans to study over my lunch break rarely pan out so I end up carrying this extra weight for nothin’. Oh well. I have two phones, one slightly crappy Sony smartphone that freezes all the time and a rather nice iPhone that I get and use for work. I have everything on that iPhone, from work things to my fitness app where I track my food and other stuff. I lift weights in my spare time so its important to me ok? This also explains the protein bar and gum which keep me going throughout my day. I have a purse for trading and bartering with local coffee establishments as well as a purple vendor freebie canvas bag so I don’t have to pay 5p extra for a bag every time I buy my lunch. Finally, I have my trusted Sony Walkman MP3 player which I wouldn’t really be able to survive without. I cycle to work most days and so don’t listen to it when doing that (that would be dangerous *tut tut*) but it does give me some focus during the day if I need to block out my lovely office colleagues or listen to some upbeat music when on my lunch break to keep me going into the afternoon.’ – Georgina
So now we’ve shared our inner most secrets (and the contents of our weird and wonderful bags), we hope you will do the same! So come and find us for doughnuts, photos, and a quick research interview any time over the lunch period (12-2pm) every day next week (except Tuesday, sorry again). We look forward to chatting with you.
Any questions? Email me: [email protected]. Thanks.