Lessons learned from the Academic Reading Format International Study: Developing and coordinating a large international study

Diane Mizrachi, Alicia Salaz, Serap Kurbanoğlu, Joumana Boustany


The Academic Reading Format International Study (ARFIS) was born at the 2014 European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) where Diane Mizrachi presented her study of UCLA undergraduates’ reading format preferences, either print or electronic, and invited colleagues to examine their own students’ format preferences and behaviors.

Serap Kubanoğlu, and Joumana Boustany approached Mizrachi with the idea of performing an international comparative study with colleagues at several other institutions. We now have data from more than 18,000 students in 33 countries, and have discussed and published our findings as they evolve in several venues.

At ECIL 2017, six ARFIS researchers presented a panel discussion of our experiences conducting this large study, including some of the challenges and opportunities associated with such a large and distributed collaborative research project. Responses to our presentation were very positive, and we decided to share our insights with a broader audience of LIS colleagues who might be formulating or participating in distributed research networks.

In this article, we discuss the process of organizing a large international comparative study, strategies used for communicating across language and cultural differences, foreseen and unforeseen challenges, lessons learned, and our goals for the near future.

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Copyright Diane Mizrachi, Alicia Salaz, Serap Kurbanoğlu, Joumana Boustany

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