Research: Txt reminders increase voter turnout in New Zealand

Some interesting research on how text message reminders helped increase voter turnout in last year’s general elections:

In a controlled experiment on New Zealand’s parliamentary election day in 2008 those who received a txt (SMS) message from the “orange elections guy” reminding them to vote had a 4.7% point higher turnout than those who did not receive the txt message. This level of impact is large for a direct marketing initiative of its type and for a turnout differential between matched cohorts and indicates an effective and cost efficient way of prompting people to vote. Assuming the txt recipients were younger and more likely to be first time voters due to the general profile of txt users, large-scale adoption of this intervention could be particularly effective at motivating a priority audience for the Electoral Commission (and election management bodies (EMBs) internationally).

It made me wonder how many libraries offer text notices for reserves, overdues etc?  Does yours? (mine doesn’t …)

Gathering feedback from students

At Massey University Library we’ve been gathering student feedback in two areas recently. We’ve run a focus group to gather comments about a knowledge management in research series run by one of my College Liaison colleagues – a series targeted at staff  and students. (I was planning to take the focus group but circumstances meant someone else stepped in and took it for me). I think my colleague has got some good pointers as to how he can revamp the sessions.

Secondly we’ve been asking for volunteers to test some online tutorials that we are devising – these will be available to be loaded into the University’s Moodle offerings for specific papers. Students are asked to watch the tutorial that has been prepared (usually about 4-5 minutes), and then work through an exercise to see what they picked up from the tutorial. We record what they do, and their comments as they work through the exercise. Their reward is chocolate 🙂

Meanwhile Brian Mathews has also been gathering student comments on next-gen library catalogues.

No-one is claiming any of these qualitative research efforts are robust in terms of sampling  etc but they all help in gaining student perspectives!