Face-Work in Chat Reference Encounters Presented by



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Face-Work in Chat Reference Encounters

  • Presented by
  • Marie L. Radford
  • and
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway
  • Library Research Round Table
  • June 24, 2006
  • ALA, New Orleans, Louisiana

Presenters

  • Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.
    • Associate Professor,
    • Rutgers University, SCILS
    • Email: mradford@scils.rutgers.edu
    • www.scils.rutgers.edu/~mradford
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
    • Consulting Research Scientist
    • Email: connawal@oclc.org
    • www.oclc.org/research/staff/connaway.htm
  • Grant Website: http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity

Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

  • $1,103,572 project funded by:
    • Institute of Museum and Library Services
      • $684,996 grant
    • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and OCLC Online Computer Library Center $405,076 in kind contributions

Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives

  • Project duration
    • 10/1/2005-9/30/2007
  • Four phases:
    • Focus group interviews*
    • Analysis of 1,000+ QuestionPoint transcripts
    • 600 online surveys*
    • 300 telephone interviews*
  • *Interviews & surveys with VRS users, non-users, & librarians

Phase I: Focus Groups

  • 7 so far
    • 4 with non-users
    • 2 with VRS librarians
    • 1 with VRS users
  • 3 more to come

Phase II: 24/7 Transcript Analysis

  • Generated random sample
    • July 7, 2004 through June 27, 2005
    • 263,673 sessions
    • 25 transcripts/month = 300 total
  • 256 usable transcripts
  • 226 of these analyzed for today’s presentation

Classification Methodology

  • Qualitative Analysis
    • Development/refinement of category scheme
    • Careful reading/analysis
    • Identification of patterns
    • Theoretical framework from Erving Goffman (1967)

Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior (1967)

  • Erving Goffman
  • 1922-1982
  • Essay:
  • “On Face-Work: An analysis of Ritual Elements in Social Interaction”

Face-Work

  • “Much of the activity occurring during an encounter can be understood as an effort on everyone’s part to get through the occasion and all the unanticipated and unintentional events that can cast participants in an undesirable light, without disrupting the relationships of the participants”
  • (Goffman, 1967, p. 41)

Face Defined

  • Positive social value person claims
  • Self-image in terms of approved social attributes

Establishing Face

  • Face is located in flow of events
    • Feelings about face reinforced by encounters
    • If better face is established – feel good
    • If expectations not fulfilled – feel bad or hurt
    • Neutral experience – expected, not memorable

Positive Face

  • One can…
    • Have face
    • Be in face
    • Maintain face
    • Give face
    • Save face

Librarian Facilitators

User Facilitators

Librarian and User Facilitator Comparisons

Wrong Face

  • One can also…
    • Be in wrong face
    • Be out of face
    • Both result in feeling shame & inferior
  • Poise is ability to conceal shameface
  • In wrong face, can still be confident if others hide this from you

Librarian Barriers

User Barriers

Librarians and User Barrier Comparison

Expectations

  • To maintain an expressive order
    • regulates the flow of events
  • To go to certain lengths to save face of others & themselves
  • To do this “willingly & spontaneously because of emotional identification” with others & their feelings

Kinds of Face-Work

  • Rituals – Greetings & Farewells
  • Corrective Process – Repair & Apology
  • Avoidance ProcessPrevent Threats to Face
  • Poise – Control Embarrassment

Face-Work in Chat

  • Goffman provides a powerful way to frame analysis of chat encounters.
  • Face, face-work, & line of participants are located in flow of the transcript (event).
  • Analysis identifies instances of face-work.
  • Major categories – see handout.

Transcript Reading

  • Positive VRS experience
    • Duration = 1 hour 11 minutes
    • Academic User
    • Question – Boston drug company - diabetes
    • Relational Work
    • Enthusiastic user
    • Helpful librarian
  • Less than positive VRS experience
    • Duration = 39 minutes
    • Middle school or high school student
    • Question – physics – car acceleration
    • Poor reference work
    • Extreme negative closure

Positive Transcript Example

  • U
  • Where can I find the leading drug companies in boston doing diabetes treatment / prevention R&D?
  • L
  • I can probably give you a few sources to get started, but I may wind up referring you to a business and/or medial librarian specialist.
  • L
  • Let's start witht eNortheastern library web page...
  • U
  • ok great thanks

Positive Transcript Example

  • L
  • OK. I'm going to try the "co-browse" option -- that might let us see the same information at once...(if it's working!)
  • U
  • wonderful
  • L
  • U
  • perfect thank you
  • L
  • Sorry, I thought there was a way you could search by sic code and get a ranked list of companies in a certian code.
  • U
  • thats alright, seemed liek you were on the right track

Negative Transcript Example

  • U
  • Which way is ur car accelerating when you’re thrown forward after hitting another bumper car?
  • L
  • Is this a homework question.
  • L
  • I'm not an expert on driving so I really can't answer that
  • U
  • L
  • I'm not sure what you are asking.

Negative Transcript Example

  • U
  • …hello?
  • L
  • I really don't understand how I can answer that for you.
  • U
  • can i hav another librarian
  • L
  • The information you gave you me does not help me find any resources to help you.

Endnotes

  • This is one of the outcomes from the project Seeking Synchronicity: Evaluating Virtual Reference Services from User, Non-User, and Librarian Perspectives.
  • Funded by IMLS, Rutgers University and OCLC, Online Computer Library Center.
  • Project web site: http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/synchronicity/

Questions

  • Marie L. Radford, Ph.D.
    • Email: mradford@scils.rutgers.edu
    • www.scils.rutgers.edu/~mradford
  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D.
    • Email: connawal@oclc.org
    • www.oclc.org/research/staff/connaway.htm


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