A Critical View of User Studies

A. L. Moorthy


With his personal experience in the library and information science profession, the author brings out problems in conducting user studies and surveys, data representation and publications. It critically discusses some of the concerns like  pre-determined outcome through structured questionnaires, improvement of responses, how different surveys of same issues or population gives different results depending on the survey organisers, repetitiveness and originality in users’ surveys, problems encountered in data fitting in tables and drawing inferences, joining hands for multiple paper authorships, cutting and pasting technology, and plagiarism. Some of the unethical practices in PhD problem identification are also discussed. It is concluded that dishonest practices are to be curtailed. It suggests the authors, when contributing papers, to keep in mind the reputation and name of their organisation which is by far larger than life and to keep its flag high by avoiding acts that may bring disrepute to it.

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