30 Days of Back to School: Learning From Research

Research is a term that can be scary to a lot of people. For teens it might bring on fears of having to complete a research paper for which the process might not be well understood and therefore isn’t easy to complete. For adults it might seem that reading research reports is a boring and perhaps even an incomprehensible task. But, even though research can send shivers up one’s spine, reading current research can be really useful in helping understand how to best support teens in a community.

A few days ago the Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a report on news consumption. While on the surface this report might not seem like it has a connection to teen librarians, reading the report one learns that it does. The information in the report can help librarians serving the age group understand where teens get their news. This information can lead to understanding how and what type of new sources the library should provide for teens.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project released a report earlier this week about the culture of apps. As the report notes, apps were not really a part of American life until just about two years ago. Now, for some people, they are a very common part of life. Again, while this report is not geared specifically to providing information about teen use of apps, it provides insight into the types of content teens are likely to be interested in when making app selections. And, as more and more libraries review apps for teens, and make app-related resources available, knowing about the data provided by Pew can help in app collection development and in providing information to teens about apps.

In the realm of apps, Nielsen released data earlier this month that demonstrates that games are the most widely used type of app. Again, this research isn’t focused on teen use of apps. But, with a large number of adults using game apps on phones, it might be extrapolated that teens with smartphones use their devices, at least in part, to play games. As with the information in the Pew report noted above, this game apps research can be used for collection development and information provision.

Keeping up on new research that’s specific to teens, or specific to another population, can often lead to insights about how to provide the best service possible to adolescents. The many research arms of the Pew Research Center and Nielsen are just two places for finding useful research and research data. What are the favorite data/research resources of YALSA Blog readers?

Don’t forget that later this fall, YALSA will launch its new research journal geared specifically to those interested in and working with teens in libraries. You can learn more about it, including how to submit an article, on the YALSA website.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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