Teenagers Reading

research for my PhD thesis

RAILS 4 seminar

with 2 comments

I will be presenting a paper at RAILS 4: Research Applications in Information and Library Studies in Melboune, Australia, 30 November 2007. I will discuss some preliminary results of my focus groups with teenagers.


Past research has shown teenagers to be reluctant to read and less likely to visit libraries than younger children. There is some debate over these conclusions and there is a necessity for further investigation. Difficulties abound in researching teenagers’ opinions. Teenagers can be reluctant to participate in activities and peer support is often very important in determining their willingness to take part. Large scale surveys of hundreds of student participants have often been conducted, but this does not allow in-depth discussion of opinions and attitudes.

These difficulties were not insurmountable and discussions with teenagers during focus group sessions at metropolitan high schools were determined a suitable research method. The researcher sat among the group of teenagers during the discussion and this helped participants feel more comfortable talking to the “supposed expert” (although the teenagers might not have agreed, they were really more expert than the researcher in the discussions). The interactions amongst peers also contributed to this reassurance. Problems did occur – participants often repeated themselves and sometimes contradicted themselves, conversations went off topic and needed to be reigned in, and participants talked over the top of each other. Despite these trials, a rich picture of teenager’s views was built from the data gathered.

The discussions led to further understanding of teenagers’ thoughts on reading and libraries. The diversity of participants’ thoughts was striking and although some teenagers were enamoured of reading and libraries, others were more scathing but still found ways to take part in literacy activities and acquire the information they needed to negotiate their world.


Written by ClareSnow

20 November 2007 at 4:11 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] novels Enticing teenagers into the library « RAILS 4 seminar Publishing 27 February 2008 I’ve finalised my paper from the RAILS 4 seminar, ready for […]

  2. […] Teenagers talking about reading and libraries 17 June 2008 Last year I presented a paper at RAILS 4: Research Applications in Information and Library Studies in Melbourne. My peer-reviewed paper has been published in the June 2008 issue of Australian […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: