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A study of user preferences by OpenAthens – call for participants

Sophie AllenBy Sophie Allen
Category - Blog

Friday 2nd October 2020

What do you do when researching a topic?

Introduction of study

This study of user preferences aims to help the OpenAthens team gain a deeper understanding of the various ways people do research. From a quick search on a mobile devise to a visit to the library we want to understand what methods and tools researchers use and why.  

We would like to speak with studentsresearchers, and teaching staff based in Latin America, APAC, and Eastern Europe 

If you are interested in participating, you will be asked to: 

  • Create a Photojournal of your research experience 
  • Attend a one hour online interview with us. 

You will receive an e-voucher for completing the Photojournal and interview.

Please contact Jas Sahota for more information and/or register your interest here.   


What kind of user can participate in the study? 

We are interested to hear from students, researchers or teaching staff working in an academic environment.  


What is the study method? 

Photojournal is a straightforward and very visual way to get a glimpse into how a person lives his or her life and also helps empower individuals to tell their own stories. 

The method requires that the study participant will take pictures of the things that they interact with while doing research. That may be a picture of the library, a journal or a screen grab from an e-book 

Once the Photojournal is complete the OpenAthens team will follow up with an hour interview getting an opportunity to ask questionabout the images that were submitted.  


What do you need to do? 

Step 1 

Have a camera on hand – that may be your smart phone camera 

Step 2  

Take a picture or a screen grab on things that you do when you do research. That includes the environment you are in, the tools you are using (digital or physical), your method and your process.  

When taking pictures, please make sure you avoid sharing any personal or sensitive data. Also, try to avoid taking pictures of people’s faces where you can. It is also important that you don’t share pictures of children or vulnerable people.   

Step 3 

Send your photos via WhatsApp adding a short description to the image. Talk about what are you doing in the picture and what was easy or difficult for you at that point of the research.  

Step 4 

Arrange a follow up interview with OpenAthens. 

Step 5  

Attend a one hour online interview where the team can ask questions about your PhotojournalLanguage support is available if needed. 

Step 6 

Receive your e-voucher. 


How long will it take?

We expect the study to take up to 2 weeks for each participant as we want participants to have the time to research at their own pace. There is no need to make a journal entry every day during that period. 


The photos and information you share with us will only be used for our internal research purposes and will not be published publicly.   Your personal data will be anonymised.   


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