Friday, September 28, 2012

Wikis for action research collaboration and library services improvement

Burger, S. & McFarland, M. (2009). Action research and wikis: An effective collaboration. Library Media Connection, 28(2), 38-40. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier. Permalink:

Three library media specialists in a suburban school district outside of St. Louis used a wiki to collaborate on an action research project. They recognized that their school district's central library services office was spending a large percentage of their budget each year on electronic databases. The researchers were concerned that students and teachers were not using the databases enough to justify the expenditure, and so set out an action research project to investigate the usage at each of their schools. They used the action research process of developing a research question, conducting a literature review, collecting data with three tools (triangulating data), forming conclusions, and applying their conclusions and learnings to improve their practice. In some cases they conducted trainings for students on various underused databases, and in other cases made recommendations to teachers of which databases they should encourage their students to use.

This article caught my attention for two reasons:
1. it gives a great example of how teachers at school can use collaborative tools (in this case, a wiki on pbworks) to work together and improve practice; and
2. it addresses the realistic issue that some districts have underutilized electronic resources.

It also gives suggestions on how to investigate uses of these resources.

I am already training students on using our database plan to access BrainPop, and I plan to create several screencasts this year for the school library website that demonstrate how to use other electronic references resources such as the Khan Academy videos and Encyclopedia Brittanica.

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