About this Research

Across multiple projects we use qualitative methods to examine the scholarly habits and explore the diversity of the undergraduate experience in the urban, public, commuter colleges that make up the CUNY system. Our research provides critical, complementary data to the many studies that have largely focused on students at residential campuses. The results of our studies are of broad utility to many in the academic and library communities; in particular we use them to inform improvements to library services and resources, and contribute to student success at CUNY and beyond.

We use ethnographic techniques such as interviews, photo surveys, and mapping diaries to learn more about the lived experiences of CUNY faculty and students. Guiding questions include:

  • What are faculty expectations for student scholarly work and assignments?
  • How do students study, research, and complete their assignments?
  • What technologies do students use for their academic work, and how and where do they use them?
  • How do students use the library for their coursework (and, if they don’t, why not)? Where else do students do their coursework?

Research sites:
2009-2010: New York City College of Technology (City Tech) and Brooklyn College
2010-2011: Bronx Community College, City College of New York, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), Hunter College
2015-2016: City Tech, Brooklyn College, and BMCC with Jean Amaral
2017-2018: City Tech, Brooklyn College, and BMCC
2018-2019: Brooklyn College

Principal Investigators:
Maura A. Smale
Chief Librarian, Professor
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Mariana Regalado
Professor, Associate Librarian for Information Services
Brooklyn College, CUNY

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