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Mixed methods graduate research assistant

Organization

School of Information Sciences

Type

Graduate Assistantship

Percent

25-50

Description, Responsibilities, and Qualifications

Mixed methods research assistant to Information Sciences faculty. The incumbent will join the Information Quality Lab https://infoqualitylab.org under the direction of Dr. Jodi Schneider to work on a newly-funded, three year IMLS grant, Strengthening Public Libraries’ Information Literacy Service Through an Understanding of Knowledge Brokers’ Assessment of Technical and Scientific Information https://imls.gov/grants/awarded/re-250162-ols-21.

This project will conduct mixed methods case studies — COVID-19 (year 1); climate change (year 2); and AI and labor (year 3) — to understand how knowledge brokers such as journalists, Wikipedia editors, activists/advocates, public librarians assess and use scientific and technical information. Ultimately, the project will develop a conceptual model about sensemaking and use of information. Starting in 2023, the team will co-develop services for knowledge brokers and the public, in collaboration with public library test partners. Results from the project will have implications for public access, information literacy, and understanding of science on policy-relevant topics.

Duties may include:

  • Synthesizing a collection of existing literature related to knowledge brokers.
  • Collecting a sample of about 250 public-facing documents and multimedia, including news (e.g., online print outlets), Wikipedia pages, membership-based online forums, documentaries, and data visualizations, that report, quote, or analyze scientific products (research papers, preprints, datasets, etc.).
  • Using topic modeling, argumentation analysis, and other document analysis techniques to analyze documents and multimedia.
  • Preparing for and conducting interviews with knowledge brokers (journalists, Wikipedia editors, activists/advocates, public librarians).
    • Developing an interview protocol to solicit information from journalists, Wikipedia editors, activists/advocates, public librarians, etc. to understand how they assess the quality of scientific and technical information.
    • Identifying COVID-19 knowledge brokers to interview, by using the document/multimedia collection, organizational directories, etc.
  • Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts (including correcting automatically generated interview transcripts).

Required Qualifications:

  • Excellent communication skills in written and spoken English
  • Excellent analytical/critical thinking skills and effective time management skills
  • Interest in topics such as misinformation, information diffusion, science/technology policy, etc.
  • Interest or experience in one or more methods such as: mixed methods, document analysis, altmetrics, semi-structured interviewing, critical incident technique, or qualitative data analysis

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Available for multiple semesters, including summer
  • Experience conducting and/or transcribing interviews
  • Experience with qualitative analysis software such as ATLAS.TI, NVivo, Taguette, RQDA, etc.
  • Experience as a journalist, Wikipedia editor, activist, advocate, public librarian, information conduit, or knowledge broker
  • Enrollment in the Master’s in Library and Information Science program or in a PhD program
  • Previous completion of one or more CITI Program ethics trainings modules
  • Experience in academic and/or scientific writing

Review of applications will begin immediately. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. All applications received by November 15, 2021 will receive full consideration. Expected start date January 16, 2022

Compensation

25%-50% RA

Application Procedure

Application Procedure: Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume in a single pdf file named Lastname_IMLS_RA.pdf (e.g., Schneider_IMLS_RA.pdf) to

ischool-infoquality@illinois.edu

Contact Info

Contact Name

MT Campbell

Contact Email

Start Date

Sunday, January 16, 2022