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Abstract

Our purpose is to present the rationale and results of a pilot study applying a meta-theoretically derived approach to focus group or semi-structured group interviewing as a means of obtaining deep data efficiently and dialogically. The project was designed to meet needs of both the senior author (a methodologist) and junior author (a librarian). The exemplar was undergraduate information seeking and use for meeting class assignments. Particular focus was on understanding when and why students decided between quick internet-only versus thorough searches involving multiple sources. The focus group approach was informed by Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology (SMM). Emphasis for this presentation is methodological – to describe the approach and to illustrate the potentials for group interviewing. Empirical results provided here are for illustration only. The pertinent literature review emphasizes methodological sources. The authors are collecting more data from a range of different academic informants and expect to develop empirically anchored reports in the near future.