Theory and Hypothesis Testing

  1. What subject areas are covered by the literature review?

The literature review covered the subject areas of demographic, economic, and cultural characteristics of library users, correlation between these characteristics and level of library use, spatial accessibility of a library and its effect on library use, interaction between social and spacial influences on library use, in so much as that this final subject area was ignored in the literature.

  1. Why do the authors cite the literature they do?

The literature the authors cite defines the independent variables of demographic, economic, cultural, and spatial characteristics of libraries and their users.

  1. What gaps in the literature have the authors identified?

The authors have identified a lack of research on the interaction between social and spacial influences on library use.

  1. How are the gaps related to their study?

The gaps are directly related to their study, as the influence that the interaction between social and spacial community characteristics has on library use is precisely what their study attempts to determine.

  1. Name two terms are have been operationally defined. Describe how so.

Neighborhood: “‘a limited territory within a larger urban area, where people inhabit dwellings and interact socially’ [17, p. 13] or a geographic unit ‘within which certain social relationships exist’ [18, p. 15].”

Social capital: “refers to connections among individuals, such as social networks, norms of reciprocity, and social trust, that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit [20–21].”

  1. How is Central Place Theory used in the study design?

Central Place Theory is used to define the neighborhoods’ physical location, spatially limiting the data collected.

  1. Identify Dependent Variable?

The dependent variable is library use.

  1. Identify Independent Variables?

Independent variables include the demographic, economic, cultural characteristics of library users and neighborhoods, as well as the spatial characteristics of libraries and neighborhoods.

  1. Do the authors clearly state a hypothesis or is it implied?

The hypothesis is clearly stated.

  1. Where did you find it?

The hypothesis is found in the first sentence of the last paragraph of the literature, where the authors state, “we believe….”

  1. How does the hypothesis relate to the literature review?

The hypothesis is formed by considering the gaps in the literature in relation to the observations found within the literature.

  1. Discuss the relationship between research questions and hypotheses.

The researchers approached their literature review hoping to find an explanation for an observation: poor blacks and Hispanics are not using public libraries. Research provided some explanation, however, gaps were noted, leading to additional questions. These additional questions led to the formation of the researchers’ hypothesis. Therefore, research questions lead to hypotheses, which are affirmed, discredited, and/or explained by research, which leads to additional questions, and the cycle repeats. In this way, knowledge evolves.

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