Dyslexic entrepreneurs and business information ... libraries and no research on dyslexic entrepreneurs

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  • Dyslexic entrepreneurs and

    business information

    By Sally Ann Clarke

    Submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of MA Information Studies at the

    University of Brighton, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, 2012.

  • 2

    Acknowledgements

    I would like to thank everyone at the British Library Business and IP Centre (BIPC) for

    making me so welcome in my placement.

    A very big thank you to:

    Neil Infield, manager of the BIPC for saying yes to this research project.

    Gail Mitchell, Business Information Specialist at BIPC for taking some excellent

    photographs.

    All the dyslexic entrepreneurs who took part in my research.

    My supervisor Dr David Horner who’s academic mind kept me on track.

    Leila Kassir, Academic Support Librarian for the London College of Communications.

    My good friend Lynda Robb, who proof read all 22,000 words.

    Ann and Mike Clarke, my Mum and Dad, for their continuing love and support.

    Adrian Russell, my fiance and fellow dyslexic, who spent hours listening to me talk things

    through, as well as doing all domestic duties, so I could concentrate on writing this

    dissertation and for his belief that I could really do it!

  • 3

    Abstract

    There is a lack of Library and Information Science research on dyslexia, disabilities and

    libraries and no research on dyslexic entrepreneurs and business information, so this

    research explores these issues for the first time.

    Dyslexia is a disability and is a complex condition and as such is covered by the Equalities

    Act 2010. Studies indicate that entrepreneurs are more likely to be dyslexic than the general

    population. Business libraries may need to take this into consideration when providing

    business information and services for their dyslexic customers.

    The aim and objectives of this qualitative research, based at the British Library Business and

    IP Centre (BIPC) focuses on the interviews of nine dyslexic entrepreneurs, asking them what

    they need to best access, use and process business information. This is coupled by

    observation of the BIPC to be able to make recommendations for them to improve their

    services to dyslexic entrepreneurs.

    The findings show an understanding of the complex nature of dyslexia is important. Also

    adopting a pro-active approach which includes the need for on-going staff training,

    acknowledging and catering for different learning styles in providing library guides,

    information and workshops, and the provision and promotion of services specifically catering

    for dyslexic entrepreneurs can all help them access and use business information.

    It is hoped this research is not only of use to the BIPC, but can be of use to all libraries,

    especially business libraries, when considering library services to dyslexic entrepreneurs

    and acknowledging the importance of taking them into consideration when providing

    accessible business information.

  • 4

    Table of Contents

    Preface……………………………………………………………………. 5

    List of Figures……………………………………………………………. 6

    Chapter One: Introduction……………………………………………… 7

    Chapter Two: Literature Review………………………………………. 12

    Chapter Three: Methods……………………………………….………. 27

    Chapter Four: Legislation, policy and dyslexic friendly libraries…… 37

    Chapter Five: Observations of the Business and IP Centre……….. 44

    Chapter Six: The dyslexic entrepreneurs have their say…………… 51

    Chapter Seven: The benefits of a proactive approach……………… 67

    Chapter Eight: Conclusion……………………………………………… 74

    Recommendations for the Business and IP Centre…………………. 76

    References……………………………………………………………….. 77

    Appendix One: Blog Post………………………………………………. 84

    Appendix Two: Poster………………………………………………….. 86

    Appendix Three: Interview schedule………………………………….. 87

    Appendix Four: Consent Form………………………………………… 91

    Appendix Five: Dyslexic Entrepreneurs Extra Information…………. 92

    Appendix Six: Screenshots of an Industry Guide……………………. 99

  • 5

    Preface

    This dissertation is designed to be a ‘living’ example of a document to be as easy to read as

    possible for dyslexic individuals.

    Firstly, it is printed on cream paper to make it easier to read for those with ‘visual stress’. It is

    written in Arial, a sans serif font, in point 11 and has 2.0 spacing. There are some mind

    maps throughout the document to give examples of what can be done with mind mapping

    software (in this case Inspiration). As many photographs as possible were used to illustrate

    points.

    It must be noted that there are limitations to this because of the academic conventions

    needed for a dissertation which would not be recommended for a dyslexic friendly document

    such as the length of paragraphs, the use of italics in referencing and the unacceptable use

    of bullet points.

    Abbreviations and acronyms are explained in each chapter to make it easier for those with

    short term/working memory difficulties.

  • 6

    List of Figures

    Figure 1: Mind Map of Chapter 2, Section 3………………………………… 13

    Figure 2: Mind Map of Chapter Three……………………………………….. 27

    Figure 3: Mind Map of Chapter Four………………………………………….. 37

  • 7

    Chapter One: Introduction

    The idea for this research topic came from Cass Business School research which was about

    entrepreneurs being more likely to be dyslexic than the general population (Logan, 2008)

    and speculating whether this had been taken into consideration in the British Library

    Business and IP Centre’s (BIPC) provision of business information, especially as they

    proactively promote their services to entrepreneurs. I also have a personal interest in this

    subject (Eve, 2008, p.19) as I am dyslexic myself. The BIPC was approached and an eight

    week placement was organised to conduct the research.

    The British Library BIPC in London was launched in 2006 and “supports entrepreneurs,

    inventors and small businesses from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching

    and developing a business” (The British Library Board, 2012). The centre offers free access

    (with a reader’s pass) to the UK’s most comprehensive collection of business and intellectual

    property databases and publications including start-up advice, information on funding,

    market research, company data, business news and information on patents, trademarks and

    copyright. They also offer advice sessions, workshops, events and webcasts of previous

    events. One of the main series of talks are called ‘Inspiring Entrepreneurs’ and since it was

    launched over 300,000 entrepreneurs have used the centre (The British Library Board,

    2012). The aim and objectives of the research will be presented followed by a brief

    introduction to the dissertation but first a series of definitions will be introduced.

    1. Definitions of dyslexia

    There is a problem when defining dyslexia which “lies in the lack of a universally accepted

    definition of dyslexia.” (Reid, 2009, p.2). There are many different dimensions to dyslexia; it

    is multi-facetted which is why a definition has not been achieved. Reid argues that there is

    “some agreement on the constellation of factors that can contribute to dyslexia, but

    controversy surrounds the respective weighing of these factors” (Reid, 2009, p.3).

  • 8

    The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) also states that there are a number of different

    definitions and descriptions of dyslexia, which may be variously appropriate for certain

    contexts or purposes. The description of dyslexia adopted by BDA is as follows:

    “Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent

    word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological

    awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across the range

    of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there

    are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language,

    motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these

    are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia. A good indication of the severity and

    persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds

    or has responded to well-founded