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Research in Library Science


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									 Library Science Research:
One Administrator’s Overview

     Workshop & Conversation
         18 January 2010
    Srinakharinwirot University
        Bangkok, Thailand

      Lynn Scott Cochrane, MSLS, PhD
            Director of Libraries
             Denison University
            Granville, Ohio, USA


B.A. in American History
University of North Carolina @

Charlotte, North Carolina

Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

Ph.D. in Public Administration
Virginia Polytechnic Institute &
State University

Blacksburg, Virginia
    Where I‟ve Lived & Worked

   North
    Born and raised
   South
    Taught high
   Pennsylvania
    Penn State U.
   Wisconsin
     UWGB Library
   Virginia
    VCU, Va Tech,
    & Marymount
   Ohio
    Denison Library
 Blogs for My Visits to Thailand

2007 Fulbright Grant

2010 Study Visit
 Definitions of Research:
         As a Noun
 The act of searching (closely or
  carefully) for or after a specified
  thing or person.
 A search or investigation directed
  to the discovery of some fact by
  careful consideration or study of a
  subject; a course of critical or
  scientific inquiry. (emphasis
                 Oxford English Dictionary
  Definitions of Research:
          As a Verb
 To search into (a matter or
  subject); to investigate or study
  closely. Also, to engage in
  research upon (a subject, a
  person, etc.).
 To make researches; to pursue a
  course of research.

                 Oxford English Dictionary
       The Scientific Mind
        in Any Discipline

“The scientific mind does not so much
  provide the right answers as ask the
  right questions.”
                       Claude Levi-Strauss
                  The Raw and the Cooked

French “Father of Modern Anthropology”
       Library Science:
      Theory vs Practice

 19th Century foundations of the field
  are based in practica & internships -
  the practice of managing libraries

 Degree programs are short,
  professional in nature, and emphasize
  practice over theory or research.
     Do You Remember
     S.R. Ranganathan?
         Five Laws of L.S. 1931
   Books are for use.
   Every reader his [or her] book.
   Every book its reader.
   Save the time of the User.
   The library is a growing organism.

    Notice the nature of the “laws.”
    They fit a professional program.
        Library Science:
      An Applied Discipline
Library science (or Library and Information
science) is an interdisciplinary field that applies
the practices, perspectives, and tools of
management, information technology,
education, and other areas to libraries; the
collection, organization, preservation, and
dissemination of information resources; and the
political economy of information.
Library Science Research:
The Goal is USEFUL Q & A

 Ask Important, Practical, Useful
 Seek answers to those questions.
 Share the results.
 Replicate this and other research
  that was well-done AND useful.
          Characteristics of
           Good Research
 Ask an Important Question
   Will the results of my research project
    make a difference to users (MOST
    important), to my library, to the
   Will it create new knowledge?

 Rigor
   Was data collected and analyzed in a
    methodical, well-documented way
    appropriate to the question and the data?
   Can the study be replicated easily?
  Characteristics of Good
 The Results Must Show

     Purpose of the research
     Methods used
     Significant outcomes and their importance
     Next steps

 Brings Respect to the Researcher
  Brings respect for the researcher and
  her institution
  Use Existing Sources of
      L.S. Research
      American Library Association

 Statistics and research reports
 The Condition of U.S. Libraries: Trends
   Use Existing Sources of
       L.S. Research
       OCLC Research Reports
 Research Assessment and the Role of the
  Library (.pdf: 267K/13pp.)
 A Comparative Review of Research
  Assessment Regimes in Five Countries
  and the Role of Libraries in the Research
  Assessment Process
    Sources of Hot Topics
      for L.S. Research
 Association of College & Research
  Libraries (ACRL), Chicago, IL, USA

 ACRL 2009 Strategic Thinking Guide
  for Academic Librarians in the New
  Economy 2009
   Sources of Hot Topics
     for L.S. Research
      ACRL 2009 Strategic Topics

 How can libraries creatively redesign
  functions and services to realize cost
  savings and support student success
  and faculty productivity?
 Determining the library‟s impact on
  student success?
 Impact of cloud computing on library &
  information resources?
    Sources of Hot Topics
      for L.S. Research
      Value of Academic Libraries

 Demonstrating the Value of Academic
  Libraries to Institutional Goals
 ACRL Value of Academic Libraries
  Comprehensive Research Review and
  Report, due in June, 2010
    Sources of Hot Topics
      for L.S. Research
 ACRL Value of Academic Libraries
  document will measure surrogates to
  demonstrate the value of libraries.

   Library‟s influence on   student enrollment
   Library‟s influence on   student retention
   Library‟s influence on   the academic quality
    of students?
   Library‟s influence on   student attitudes?
   Library‟s influence on   the output of
     Classification Scheme
       for L.S. Research
 (Association for Library and Information
             Science Education)

Lists 100+ topics for L.S. research
  Administer a National Survey
  at Your University: LibQUAL+
 LibQUAL+
  User satisfaction survey first created at
  Texas A&M University for business &
  marketing purposes.
  recent dissertation on LibQUAL+

 At Denison the results told us that users
  want more full-text digital resources!
  Administer a National Survey
    at Your University: NSSE

 NSSE (National Survey of Student
 Shows how undergraduates spend their
  time & what they gain from college.
 Survey items … represent empirically
  confirmed „good practices‟ in
  undergraduate education.
 Reflect behaviors by students and
  institutions that are associated with
  desired outcomes of college
  NSSE Supplemental Questions
   about Information Literacy

 NSSE (National Survey of Student
 2008 supplemental questions on
  information literacy used by Denison and
  20 similar colleges/universities
 We are studying the results now.
 I will co-author an article on the survey in
     NSSE Supplemental Questions
      about Information Literacy
Questions Used with First-Year Students and Seniors, Then Mean Scores

1.   In your experience at your institution during the current school year,
     about how often have you done each of the following?
     1=Never, 2=Sometimes, 3=Often, 4=Very Often
     a) Asked a librarian for help (in-person, e-mail, chat, etc.)
     b) Gone to a campus library to do research
     c) Used your institution‟s web-based library resources in completing
          class assignments

2.   Which of the following have you done or do you plan to do before you
     graduate from your institution?
     0=Have not decided, Do not plan to do, Plan to do, 1=Done
     a) Participate in an instructional session led by a librarian or other
         library staff member
     b) Participate in an online library tutorial
    NSSE Supplemental Questions
     about Information Literacy
Questions Used with First-Year Students and Seniors, Then Mean Scores

3. To what extent does your institution emphasize each of the following?
     1=Very little, 2=Some, 3=Quite a bit, 4=Very much
     a) Developing critical thinking and analytical abilities.
     b) Developing the ability to obtain and effectively use information for
     c) Developing the ability to evaluate the quality of information
         available from various media sources (TV, radio,

4. To what extent has your experience at this institution contributed to your
     knowledge, skills, and personal development in the following areas?
     1=Very little, 2=Somewhat, 3=Quite a bit, 4=Very much
     a) Evaluating the quality of information
     b) Ethical use of information sources in academic work (proper
         citation use, not plagiarizing, etc.)
  NSSE Supplemental Questions
   about Information Literacy

 For every question, Seniors showed
  improvement over First Year Students.
 Differences were small.
 May not be statistically significant.
 Working on the data now.
 Stay tuned for a brief article in College
  & Research Libraries News later in
OR, Use Data from Another
     National Survey

 First Year Information Literacy in
  the Liberal Arts Assessment

 Ready to Start Your Research?

        Steps in the Research Process
1.   Define the Question
2.   Literature Review
3.   Problem Statement
4.   Research Design
5.   Metholology/Data Collection
6.   Data Analysis
7.   Reporting Your Results
        What is Your
     Research Question?
 Create a clear statement of your
  research question in one sentence.
 Browse the literature to revise/refine
  the question.
 Find a smart partner/editor/reader to
  give you HONEST feedback with each
  iteration of the question statement.
 Questions may come from your own
 Questions may come from a gap you
  see in the existing L.S. literature
       Literature Review

 Be sure your question has not already
  been answered.
 Build on the research that has gone
 Do not re-invent the wheel.
 Use existing data/research to examine
  your question, if possible.
 Thai concept of R2R (Routine to
  Research) from Mahidol University
 Consider replicating earlier research in
  a new context/environment.
      Problem Statement

 Make research question explicit
 How is it original?
 Justify the value of answering the
 Refine the question several times.
  Ask yourself: is it too broad, too
  narrow, will the answer be useful, will
  it contribute the new knowledge?
       Research Design

 Study methods should flow from the
  nature and scope of the question
 Methods can be tightly structures &
 Methods can be exploratory and
  flexible to evolve with implementation
 Data collection flows from the methods
 Data analysis must help you focus on
  answering your question
        Research Design -
   Case Studies
   Naturalistic Research
   Longitudinal Studies
   Delphi Studies
   Experimental Studies
   Quasi-experimental Studies
   Studying Special Populations
Data Collection Methods -
   Historical Studies
   Transaction Logs
   Direct Observation
   Participant Observation
   Research Diaries
   Unstructured Interviews
   Structured Interviews
   Focus Groups
   Surveys
   Statistical Data Comparison
       Data Analysis
    Methods - Examples
 Content Analysis
 Qualitative Analysis
 Discourse Analysis
 Analytic Induction
 Descriptive Statistics
 Frequencies, Cross-tabs, & Chi-Square
 Sequential Analysis
 Correlation
 Comparing Means: t tests and analysis of
 Use more than one method, if possible.
  Reporting Your Results

 At the beginning tell readers the
  answer to the research question.
  They can choose to continue or not.
 Write in a clear, concise style.
 Use simple language.
 Report lessons learned.
 Repeat why this is important.
 How can this new knowledge be used?
 Next steps.
An Important, New Text on
  L.S. Research Methods
Wildemuth, Barbara M.
Applications of Social Research Methods
  to Questions in Information and
  Library Science. Westport, CT:
  Libraries Unlimited, 2009.

I recommend you share the work of
   translating this new book into Thai.
Break Time!

        Sample TOC:
      U.S. L. S. Journals
     College and Research Libraries
       Sample TOC:
     U.S. L. S. Journals
  College and Undergraduate Libraries
        Sample TOC:
      U.S. L. S. Journals

   Journal of Academic Librarianship
       Sample TOC:
     U.S. L. S. Journals

 Reference and User Services Quarterly
         Sample TOC:
       U.S. L. S. Journals

 Library Resources and Technical Services
     Sample Articles This
      Reviewer Rejected

 “Making It To The Hall of Fame: An
  Analysis of ACRL's Academic/Research
  Librarian of the Year Award”
 “Feature Films Go to College: A Survey
  of Popular Cinema in the Academic
 "Community College Library Promotion
  to Distance Learners: Librarians'
     Sample Articles This
      Reviewer Rejected
 "Evaluation Index on Resource Sharing
  Services in Korean University Libraries
  Based on SCM Concept“
 "Library School Programs and the
  Successful Training of Academic
  Librarians to Meet Promotion & Tenure
  Requirements in the Academy“
 "Distance Education and the Role of
  Library Services in Iran: a Case Study
  of Shiraz University Distance Learners"
           Advice for Today

If you want or need to do research:
 Remember, Library Science is an applied,
   professional discipline.
 Find a partner, preferably outside Library
 Make it useful in the near future to your
   library and other libraries.
 Do NOT try to compete with serious
   faculty researchers.
  A Biologist Once Told Me

“Never stop reading while you write,
 Never stop writing while you read.”

                     Dr. Jacqueline Black
                    Marymount University
                            Arlington, VA
Keep It Simple Stupid
 (a campaign slogan from Bill


    Work as part of national
surveys/instruments dealing with
     education, information
  technology, or public services

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