Using student focus groups and curators to diversify reading lists at Northumbria University

Biddy Casselden*, Kelly Stockdale, Rowan Sweeny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review

48 Downloads (Pure)


This short paper details interim findings from two small research projects funded by the Education Quality Enhancement Fund (EQEF) at Northumbria University during the academic year 2020/21. The first project used a series of online focus groups with students from ‘Computer and Information Science’ and ‘Criminology’ Departments and worked with them as co-creators reflecting on the diversity of their reading lists, and collaboratively identifying readings that better reflected marginalised voices within their modules. Examining the differences between the subject areas was also an important feature of this research, as was using an ‘Inclusivity Matrix’ (Stockdale & Sweeney, 2019) to facilitate discussion within focus groups. The second project employed a student curator from the participating departments, working with academic staff and the University Library to develop student-led resources including additional reading list and publisher materials, library displays, and the creation of virtual materials such as podcasts and videos in relation to the project, thereby enhancing the development of critical information literacy skills. Interim findings from these 2 projects will be shared, particularly regarding the challenges of researching in a Covid environment, the key outcomes from these projects, and the differences that exist between Arts and STEM departments regarding inclusivity and diversity of curricula and associated reading lists. This research will be of most interest to those working in an academic library sector, but also may appeal to those who are wanting to undertake research using focus groups in an electronic environment or wishing to use a tool such as the ‘Inclusivity Matrix’ to challenge reader viewpoints and enable discussion and debate surrounding the diversity and inclusivity of reading in general.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2021
EventCALC2021: Critical Approaches to Libraries Conference 2021 - Virtual, Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 May 20216 May 2021


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Using student focus groups and curators to diversify reading lists at Northumbria University'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this