RESEARCH STATEMENT

My research goals are linked to my desire to understand how people actively and passively seek, use, or ignore information. I am curious about the ways in which information, or the lack thereof, impacts one's quality of life. I explore topics such as library use in the U.S. and around the world, the digital divide and information literacy, along with the normative information experiences of marginalized communities. My research experience is varied; I am drawn to mixed methods approaches, or triangulation. The overarching question that I wish to answer is: What is the cross between social identity and information behavior?

My dissertation research investigates the ways in which foreign-born Blacks living in the U.S. experience and negotiate information overload. My interest was piqued after discerning similarities between mine and my Afro-Nicaraguan family’s experiences with those of my spouse, a Ugandan immigrant, and his family. There are few LIS studies on the dynamics of information as a stressor from the point of view of minorities, much less foreign-born Blacks living in the U.S. Although Black immigrants are hardly homogeneous, attention to the norms of African, Afro-­Caribbean and Afro­-Latino individuals living in the U.S. is missing from the current body of information overload research. I argue that this is a timely study. Regardless of the politics and debates on immigration, the fact remains that there are already 3 million foreign-born Blacks who permanently reside in America, and these individuals need resources to assist them with adjusting, acculturating, assimilating and advancing while in the U.S. I hope to complete a multi-phase project using analysis of U.S. Census data, surveys, as well as a focus group, and will present my dissertation in a three-paper dissertation format.

This line of research is not without its challenges. Not only is it often misunderstood, but researching vulnerable groups requires great care and connection. Specifically, minority communities are often skeptical of researchers (who are deemed a part of the governing class). Moreover, investigations of this kind can be expensive on account of translation and transportation costs. Lastly, some might argue that the current political climate has cast a cloud on this line of inquiry. I would submit, however, that my hope to study diverse groups is worthwhile. Not only it does it add new perspectives to LIS, but it can help information professionals design and implement viable services.

Finally, I am inspired by the late Dr. Elfreda Chatman, who studied the information worlds of African Americans, the working poor, the elderly, prisoners and low-skilled workers. Her theories highlighted the notion that information takes many forms, and cultural roles impact the ways in which people perceive information. Like Chatman, I wish to partake in activist LIS scholarship through research, theory building, teaching and service.

LATEST PROJECTS
  • Successfully defended dissertation proposal: Foreign-born Blacks and Information Overload: A Three-Paper Dissertation
  • Conceptual Model of the Digital Divide (2016 ASIS&T poster paper being expanded to journal manuscript)
  • On Nicaraguan Costeno culture and culturally-responsive libraries (Manuscript under review)
  • 40 years of Information Overload research (Draft completed)
  • Where are all of the Black males? Library outreach to African American fraternities (Draft completed)
  • Africans in American Libraries (recent ALISE '17 WIP poster)
TECHNIQUES
  • Surveys
  • Secondary Analysis
  • Focus Group
  • Photovoice Activity
  • GIS (Geographic Information System)
  • Population Data
SOFTWARE & CODE
  • NVivo
  • ArcGIS
  • SPSS
  • R
  • HTML/CSS