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Usability testing in libraries: methods, limitations, and implications

Usability testing in libraries: methods, limitations, and implications Purpose – Usability studies are a form of library evaluation that are often passed off as research. However, at its core, usability is an evaluation method, not a research method. The goal is to make an argument that usability studies can be a valid form of scholarly research if certain limitations inherent in usability studies are addressed in the research design. Design/methodology/approach – Through evaluating literature in the social sciences, this paper makes an argument for usability as a research method if certain limitations inherent within usability testing are addressed. Findings – Usability is not only an evaluation method, but when limitations are addressed; it can be considered an important research tool within libraries. Originality/value – No other article in the library and information sciences literature talks about methodologies for usability. Most usability articles do not address methodologies utilized in a way that would be considered research in a broader social sciences context. This article bridges the gap from when usability is considered evaluation to when it is considered research within library science. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png OCLC Systems & Services Emerald Publishing

Usability testing in libraries: methods, limitations, and implications

OCLC Systems & Services , Volume 29 (4): 14 – Oct 25, 2013

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1065-075X
DOI
10.1108/OCLC-02-2013-0009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Usability studies are a form of library evaluation that are often passed off as research. However, at its core, usability is an evaluation method, not a research method. The goal is to make an argument that usability studies can be a valid form of scholarly research if certain limitations inherent in usability studies are addressed in the research design. Design/methodology/approach – Through evaluating literature in the social sciences, this paper makes an argument for usability as a research method if certain limitations inherent within usability testing are addressed. Findings – Usability is not only an evaluation method, but when limitations are addressed; it can be considered an important research tool within libraries. Originality/value – No other article in the library and information sciences literature talks about methodologies for usability. Most usability articles do not address methodologies utilized in a way that would be considered research in a broader social sciences context. This article bridges the gap from when usability is considered evaluation to when it is considered research within library science.

Journal

OCLC Systems & ServicesEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 25, 2013

Keywords: Qualitative research; User‐centred design; Research methods; Quantitative research; Usability testing; Web site evaluation; Limitations

References