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Community Profiling of Information Needs and Providers: PhD thesis of Broomhall

Zapopan Muela | 20.03.2011 09:17 | Public sector cuts | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Sheffield | World

This is my final PhD thesis at the University of Sheffield, which I submitted in partial fulfillment to obtain my doctoral degree. It is a scientific study in the field of library and information sciences which I conducted in Broomhall, Sheffield, UK, from 2003 up to 2006. The thesis was submitted in 2007. The successful viva voce examination held in 2008. And my PhD degree finally conferred in 2010. This is a humble way to fulfill my research aims with working class people of Broomhall, to show the world the scientific results of my study. And a way to show my thankfullness and gratitud to all who took part in this study and who helped me to succeed. The access to the full thesis is available at the Web link shown above, but it is also available at the University of Sheffield Library, see library record here:  http://star.shef.ac.uk/TalisPrism/doOpenURLSearch.do?sid=Talis:prod_talis&pid=Key%3A2503241%3BArtifactType%3AMarc21Slim%3BsearchLocation%3Atalislms

Research question: This study sought to investigate the community information needs of, and information provision available to, the residents of the Broomhall neighbourhood of Sheffield (UK), as perceived by them. Objectives: The research objectives were: 1) To identify the community information needs of the residents of the Broomhall neighbourhood; 2) To establish to what extent information providers satisfy the community information needs of the residents of the Broomhall neighbourhood; 3) To explore the effectiveness of the community profiling tool to analyse community information needs and provision; and 4) To understand the possible implications of this study for policy makers. Research design: The theoretical framework was based around the following concepts: a) the materialist conception of history, b) the social class struggles concept, and c) the concept of configuration as an open structure of theory. The methodologies used were qualitative research and interpretivism. Data were generated using snowball or chain sampling within a purposeful sampling approach and through triangulation of a) semi-structured interviews (individual and group-focused); b) non-participant observation and c) document analysis methods, themselves entailing the triangulation of literal, and interpretative data analysis. Findings: The major findings relating to community information needs were related to the following issues: 1) territoriality and uses of the land (e.g. housing for poor and working classes; expansion of Sheffield and Hallam universities in the form of university student villages); 2) poverty, social and economical inequalities (e.g. unemployment, debt, and crime); 3) health (e.g. drug addiction, lack of: green public open space, playgrounds, and sports and leisure facilities); 4) politics (e.g. inadequate allocation of funding for community projects); 5) culture (e.g. multicultural, ethnic, religious, and national issues; tribalism of BMEs); 6) communication (e.g. people socially excluded due to lack of English classes). The findings also related to the following features: 7) transport (e.g. transport for the elderly); and 8) education (e.g. nurseries, and socially inclusive primary schools. Territoriality related to all the other 7 issues and features in negative ways. Conclusions and recommendations: For Broomhall residents it was recommended that they should change their neighbourhood name to Holberry Gardens and create a strategic alliance to save their neighbourhood from being taken over by developers; they also need to distance themselves from Broomhall and The Park, and to resist anti-working class policies from the European Union, central, regional, and local government and private/voluntary sectors. For the LIS community a community profiling tool has been found to be effective as long as it is used within the contexts of qualitative research and territoriality. Policy makers should abandon their privatisation policies relating to the provision of social services (e.g. information, help and advice) which have worsened the quality of life of the poor classes, and have fostered poverty and crime. The need for the creation of a new and free-of-charge health and sports facility that includes a library was also recommended.

Zapopan Muela
- e-mail: zapopanmuela@gmail.com
- Homepage: http://eprints.rclis.org/handle/10760/14659

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