10 Mar Librarian snack preferences
A few weeks ago I conducted some very important research* on the snack preferences of librarians. I promised I’d share the findings so this post shares some of the highlights from the research.
Over the last few years I’ve learnt a bit about the chocolate preferences of librarians through the activities in my focus group workshops – for anyone who is interested, the findings suggest that Cadburys Roses aren’t so popular when compared to Cadbury Heroes or Celebrations; Bounty are the marmite of the chocolate world (either loved or hated by most people); and Creme Egg Twisted are generally a highlight. Perhaps one day I’ll share more in-depth findings from the research activities into chocolate preferences that I’ve completed during my focus group workshops. For now though, it’s time to share the findings of a slightly broader research question about the snack preferences of librarians which I conducted as part of my preparation for my statistics workshop.
I was intrigued to know more about the snack preferences of those in the library and information sector (I’ll be referring to these as ‘librarians’ but I’m using this as an inclusive term). I had a few key research questions:
- What type of snacks do librarians enjoy?
- What snacks are most popular with librarians?
- Do librarians in different sectors have different snack preferences?
I chose to use an online survey to help me collect data towards my research questions. I set it up on SurveyMonkey and promoted it via Twitter:
Doing some highly important research into the snack preferences of librarians. Please help by completing my survey https://t.co/8pcgsPgzB7
— Jo Alcock (@joeyanne) November 20, 2016
As you can see, a number of people helped spread the word by retweeting the link to the survey. The survey was open for around 48hrs from 20th November to 22nd November 2016. I then exported the data to Excel and had a thoroughly enjoyable train journey or two analysing the data (yes I really do love this sort of thing!).
— Jo Alcock (@joeyanne) November 22, 2016
There were 279 respondents to the survey (which considering the time it was open and how little it was promoted makes me think librarians are either very generous with their time or are really passionate about snacks!). The breakdown of respondents by sector and by country is shown below:
Due to the sampling methods used (convenience sampling and snowball sampling) it’s not too surprising to see academic librarians as the most represented sector, and the UK as the most represented country, as I imagine many of my Twitter followers fit these demographics as that’s my background. It was pleasing to have respondents from so many other countries – amazing the reach you can get in such a short space of time thanks to social media (a definite advantage to this sampling method).
What types of snacks do librarians enjoy?
I chose to ask a multiple choice question to address this research question, with the following options:
Respondents could select as many answers as applicable depending on which types of snacks they enjoy.
As can be seen from the pictogram below, many respondents enjoyed chocolate, biscuits/cookies, cake, and crisps. Sweets were a little less popular with just under half of the respondents enjoying sweets.
What snacks are most popular with librarians?
I used a similar question to the previous one to establish the most popular snacks, but this time respondents could only select one answer (to represent their favourite). I used this approach and the same responses to see if the patterns showed a similar trend for the types of snacks enjoyed and loved or if some snacks are enjoyed but rarely loved.
As you can see from the bar chart below, there is a slight shift from the pattern in the previous chart showing there are some snacks that are liked but not loved (sweets) and some snacks that people tend to love (perhaps more than you might expect given the similar numbers in the last question).
Do librarians in different sectors have different snack preferences?
In order to answer this question I combined the responses to the question about favourite snacks with the demographic information about respondents’ sectors. I was able to do this fairly easily in SurveyMonkey to produce the following stacked bar chart:
As you can see, there does appear to be some variance in the preferences. The data suggest public librarians seem to have a greater preference for cake, health librarians have a greater preference for chocolate, and school librarians have a greater preference for biscuits/cookies. However, remember the sample sizes for some of these groups is small.
The survey data suggest librarians love snacks, but that they’re far more likely to be interested in chocolate, crisps, biscuits/cookies, and cake than they are sweets (which from a personal perspective is excellent as it means more sweets for me!).
As with all research, there are some caveats that need to be taken into consideration, particularly around the methodology and sampling. However, the findings offer an interesting insight into the snack preferences of librarians that I hope will be useful for those planning events for librarians which would benefit from snacks.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this research and took it in the spirit intended (with a large dose of silliness). If you’re interested in learning more about the methods and techniques used to collect, analyse and present statistical data and would be interested in attending a workshop on this, please see more information in my statistics workshop flyer, and feel free to contact me.
*Not actually important research at all. A lot of fun though.
**I thought I was being inclusive by adding cookies as an alternative term for biscuits but totally forgot to add chips for crisps and candy for sweets – oops.