Study space interviews


In July 2016, James Thompson and I did a series of short interviews with people using the Templeman Library, to find out how they find a place to study.

Read the notes from the interviews on Sharepoint (Kent staff only).

This was part of James’ project, ‘Study space availability indicators and mobile service’ (Kent staff can read about it in SharePoint: P1257). In the course of it, we also learned more about how and why they choose where to study in general.

The aim was to find whether students would find it useful to be able to see on an app or digital screens how many free seats there were around the Library.

We approached people sitting in the social area near the café in Templeman West, and asked if they would be happy to have a chat for 5 minutes about how they found study spaces, while one of us took notes.

We asked open questions about how they chose where to study in the Library, before moving onto more targeted questions about using digital screens, websites and apps.

Because it was the summer vacation, we didn’t speak to any undergraduates. We interviewed:

  • 8 Masters students
  • 4 PhD students (some at other universities)
  • 1 member of academic staff
  • 1 member of the public

We didn’t offer an incentive when we approached students, but as a thank-you after the interview we offered them an item of Library merchandise (such as a post-it pad).

This wasn’t pure UX research, as it had an agenda about a particular service and we stuck quite closely to our list of questions. Still, we learned about our interviewees’ views of the Library, which are worth sharing. It also showed that our students are generally happy to chat with us, so spontaneous interviewing is a method we could try again in future.