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'We are here because you were there': an investigation of the reading of, and engagement with, minority ethnic fiction in UK public libraries

Birdi, Briony (2014) 'We are here because you were there': an investigation of the reading of, and engagement with, minority ethnic fiction in UK public libraries. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to investigate the reading of, and engagement with, minority ethnic English language fiction in public libraries, focusing on materials written by Black British and Asian authors. In order to achieve this, a literature review and three empirical studies were conducted, using a mixed methods approach. The literature review showed that previous research in the field of minority ethnic fiction had largely overlooked its readership, and furthermore that academic models of fiction reading had not considered this type of material. The first study was a survey of the reading habits and attitudes of library users, conducted via a quantitative questionnaire and subsequent qualitative interviews. This was cross-sectional at the individual respondent level, but a longitudinal element was also included at the library level, which enabled analysis by community type, local ethnicity and class. The second study was a qualitative exploration of perceptions of reader ‘types’ using personal construct theory and the associated repertory grid technique, in order to generate and explore a series of constructs relating to the characteristics of fiction readers. The third, quantitative study also drew from personal construct theory, adapting the repertory grid to investigate in greater depth a group of readers’ beliefs, attitudes and intentions to read certain fiction genres. A model of genre fiction reading is presented, based on the research findings. This identifies a new fiction reader profile and gives a causal ordering to the characteristics of the fiction reader which had previously not been achieved. The model is also demonstrably flexible to allow different types of factors to be included, and to further explore the interactions between these factors. Finally, the theoretical and professional contributions of the research are summarised, and recommendations are made for future research and the development within libraries and the book trade of minority ethnic fiction collections.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Information School (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.680552
Depositing User: Dr Briony Birdi
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2016 11:14
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12093

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