Data Collection

This qualitative study focuses on a single phenomenon as it is perceived by members of various ethno-cultural groups in the Edmonton area. As such the specific design of this research, based on the experiences being measured, falls within the boundaries of a phenomenological study (Leedy and Ormrod 144). According to Leedy and Ormrod the general methods of collecting data in a phenomenological study are in-depth, unstructured interviews with a purposeful selection of five to twenty-five subjects. In order to avoid a saturation level in themes it is recommended that a study selects somewhere between eighteen and twenty interview subject for optimum results. Based on these two suggestions this research study will use twenty-one different prescreened interview participants. This will allow for three interviews to be used to refine the effectiveness of questions selected and interview techniques. Interviews will take place in a public location selected by the interviewee. This is in effort to avoid potential participants declining to volunteer for the study because a convenient location is not provided.

All of the candidates must fulfill the primary criteria of having immigrated to Canada after 1990. This is the main criteria selected in a recent study by Susan Burke when she selected her participants. All participants must be over the age of eighteen in order to avoid unnecessary complications in the ethics review process. The participants must be current residents of the city of Edmonton. This will be a requirement because the questions selected are an effort to measure awareness of the Edmonton Public Libraries marketing initiatives. Approximately half of the interview volunteers will be library-users. The other half will be immigrants who have never taken advantage of library services offered. The participants should be from a variety of different ethno-cultural backgrounds to ensure a broad spectrum of perspectives. The final criteria is that interviewees must have a basic proficiency in understanding and speaking English in order to avoid the cost associated in employing translators.

The fact that the characteristics of research participants only offers a narrow segment of the population as potential interview subjects, purposeful selection methods are required for recruitment. With the permission of the institutions, posters will be places at various locations of Edmonton Public Library in areas of the city with a high concentration of immigrant populations. Specific locations include Castledowns, Londonderry, Highlands, Stanley A. Milner, and Millwoods. These posters would address the need for library users. In order to recruit non-library users who fall into the selected criteria posters would also have to be placed at various locations of the Edmonton Immigration Services Association and the Edmonton Centre for Newcomers. Various ethnic restaurants and foods and goods stores would also be solicited to display the posters (ie The Portuguese Canadian Bakery). Individuals who respond to the advertisements would be screened according to the selection criteria mentioned.

Once contacted by telephone or email arrangements would be made in selecting a public location to meet. The selection of the place is delegated to the participant with final approval granted by the researcher. A public location must be selected in order to ensure the safety and comfort of both individuals. Ideal locations include the libraries and organizations where recruitment posters are distributed.

The major research method for the purposes of data collection in this study is the use of semi-structured or unstructured interviews. This method was chosen for this research project for a number of different reasons. The first reason is to ensure that the study contains important information which may not be included when formulating questions. If there is significant information given by one participant it may serve as inspiration for new questions to be asked in subsequent interviews. The open nature of the conversion in this interview method is conducive to creating an environment in which the participant feels comfortable. Reading questions exclusively from a script is detrimental to the goal of building a friendly and productive relationship with the interviewee. In addition prepared questions are more likely to solicit a short response which would provide little relevant information. Creating the environment in which a congenial conversation can take place is more likely to solicit detailed answers. A basic format of question should be maintained but not strictly adhered to.

The researcher would achieve and maintain credibility by researching relevant documents pertinent to the research topic of the study. It is also essential the researcher is familiar with current and ongoing research in the area by continuing to read new research as it is published. This can be achieved through the advice of faculty members and creating RSS feeds to selected journals. In addition the researcher must maintain a professional and respectful attitude when interviewing subjects regardless of the situation. The researcher should never falsify or alter findings for their own purposes. Complete disclosure is required when explaining research subject's rights, as well as how the information gathered, stored, and evaluated. A final method of ensuring credibility is to obtain full ethics approval from the supporting academic institution.

Transfer of this research study to the Edmonton Public Library is desirable to ensure that the information can be used to evaluate and improve marketing techniques directed to the subject group of the study. The conclusions of this study are specifically directed as an aid for the Edmonton Public Library but other public libraries in North America may benefit from the transferability of the study. Based on the fact that the essence of this study is to gauge the perceptions of a wide selection of immigrant groups in a small sample a certain amount of variation in dependability can be expected. The researcher can maintain some semblance of dependability by ensuring the interview follows a loose format. Confirmability can be achieved by ensuring that the transcripts created from the interview are as accurate as possible. A reference assistant will be employed in the study to verify that these transcripts are consistent with the taped interviews.

A rough guide/interview schedule will be used to provide direction in the interviews. The guide was created by consulting other studies in the field based on similar topics and the researcher's familiarity of the urban environment in which the study is focused. The questions will be pre-tested by soliciting the experience of faculty and peers who are adept in the creation of unstructured interviews. In addition three of the interviews may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the guide and still have an ideal number of participants to conduct a comprehensive study.

External permissions will be required from various branches of the Edmonton Public Library, Edmonton Immigration Services Association, the Edmonton Centre for Newcomers, and the various business establishments mentioned above. An institutional permission for on-sight research form may be required. This study will solely address the perceptions and observations of immigrants of marketing initiatives of the Edmonton Public Library. This study will not study these marketing initiatives, or the perceptions of library employees with regard to these strategies. Physical boundaries of the study will also be specific to those who live within city limits of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Further research beyond these defined boundaries may be possible in a follow-up study.