Librarians As Researchers-Miggie Pickton


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Presentation given by Miggie Pickton at event run by CILIP University College & Research Group, Yorkshire and Humber branch - Librarians as Researchers: Getting Your Voice Heard.

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  • Thanks Miggie, yes, as information professional, research could/should be an important part in our service and development.
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  • yeah, i viewed your presentation and i realized research should be part in our daily jobs.
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  • Librarians As Researchers-Miggie Pickton

    1. 1. Librarians as researchers Combining research with the day job Miggie Pickton UC&R Yorkshire and Humberside ‘ Librarians as Researchers’ Event 27 th May 2010
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Why me? </li></ul><ul><li>What do we mean by research? </li></ul><ul><li>Why bother with practitioner research? </li></ul><ul><li>Research and the practitioner: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Doing it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The manager’s role </li></ul><ul><li>What next? </li></ul>
    3. 3. Why me? <ul><li>Qualified 2005 (‘born again librarian’) </li></ul><ul><li>Day job: ‘Research Support Specialist’ within a converged library/IT dept </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Supporting researchers at The University of Northampton </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Coordinating and managing ’ applied research within Information Services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current projects: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>KeepIt: digital preservation and repositories (JISC funded) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research data management project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Joint Editor of Library and Information Research </li></ul><ul><li>PhD (long time ago) in Geography </li></ul><ul><li>... my perspective is that of a practitioner, not an academic </li></ul>
    4. 4. What do we mean by ‘research’? <ul><li>Academic research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Purpose is to create new knowledge (or confirm existing knowledge) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem solving or curiosity driven </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grounded in disciplinary context (literature, theory, methodology, interpretation) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every step justifiable/evidenced </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Produce outputs of publishable quality – peer review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience: other scholars, policy makers, practitioners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make an ‘impact’ (especially with REF in mind) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. What do we mean by ‘research’? <ul><li>Practitioner research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focused on current problem or need </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pragmatic approach to theory and methodology – often investigative or evaluative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results inform practice – support decision-making for immediate benefit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited external dissemination </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Innovative practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A driver for research? </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Why bother with practitioner research? <ul><li>What are the benefits: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To the individual? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To the organisation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To the profession? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discuss in small groups (10 minutes) then feed back </li></ul>
    7. 7. Benefits to the individual <ul><li>Interesting – opportunity to explore something in more depth, learn something new </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging – develop new skills, stretch yourself </li></ul><ul><li>Variety – a change from routine, opportunity to do something different, work with new people </li></ul><ul><li>Increase job satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Support professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance personal reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Improve career prospects </li></ul><ul><li>... </li></ul>
    8. 8. Benefits to the service or organisation <ul><li>Gather evidence of value / demonstrate impact </li></ul><ul><li>Engage with users: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand their perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show interest in their needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do what they do (library as ‘academic department’) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support decision-making </li></ul><ul><li>Improve service / solve problems </li></ul><ul><li>Increase staff motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Achieve recognition (within and beyond the institution) </li></ul><ul><li>... </li></ul>
    9. 9. Benefits to the profession <ul><li>A means of furthering professional excellence (CILIP, n.d.) </li></ul><ul><li>Create new knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Provide an evidence base for practice </li></ul><ul><li>Provoke positive change </li></ul><ul><li>Develop an engaged and vibrant professional community </li></ul><ul><li>Enhance reputation </li></ul><ul><li>... </li></ul>CILIP (n.d.) A CILIP policy for information and library research
    10. 10. Doing it – what to research <ul><li>You may already have a pressing need, but if not: </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate service performance e.g. are current services for academic staff meeting identified staff needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Identify gaps in service provision and recommend measures for filling these e.g. could more be done to support international students? </li></ul><ul><li>Measure impact/effectiveness e.g. of a new approach to information literacy teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate potential new services e.g. use of mobile technologies for alerting or accessing resources </li></ul><ul><li>Identify good practice elsewhere and introduce it to your own workplace e.g. advocacy for the institutional repository </li></ul>
    11. 11. Doing it – establishing context <ul><li>Read around your subject in professional and scholarly publications </li></ul><ul><li>Attend professional events (like this) and conferences e.g. CoFHE & UC&R conference 21 st -23 rd June; LIS Research Coalition conference 28 th June – for information gathering and networking </li></ul><ul><li>Join special interest groups: UC&R , LIRG or establish your own e.g. East Midlands Research Support Group </li></ul><ul><li>Check out the LIRG Directory of research and researchers (and add your work to it!) </li></ul><ul><li>Subscribe to mailing lists and use RSS feeds for alerting e.g of funding opportunities, research news </li></ul><ul><li>(Selectively) use Twitter or other social networking tools to raise own and others’ awareness of ongoing projects </li></ul>
    12. 12. Doing it – how to start <ul><li>Make a case for a new project – convince your line manager of the need for it </li></ul><ul><li>Support departmental/organisation priorities (keep it relevant) </li></ul><ul><li>Write a research proposal (courses and guidance are available e.g. Eve , 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate with partners (e.g. academic staff; colleagues from other support departments; professional colleagues from other institutions – anyone with whom you have shared goals) </li></ul><ul><li>Submit a bid for funding – externally (e.g. HEA, JISC, LIRG) or internally (e.g. L&T awards, Roberts funding) </li></ul>Eve, J. (2008) Writing a research proposal: planning and communicating your research ideas effectively. Library and Information Research , 32(102), pp.18-28.
    13. 13. Doing it – how to make it happen <ul><li>Don’t rush into it – be clear with your aims and objectives; plan carefully; pilot your methodology; consider at the start how you will analyse the results </li></ul><ul><li>Involve colleagues - bounce ideas around; test the methodology; collect data; data analysis... </li></ul><ul><li>Time and timing - your own time/workload management is crucial, but timing is important too (think of the academic cycle – is the project feasible now?, are participants available?) </li></ul><ul><li>Ask for advice from academic colleagues (especially if your institution has a LIS department); consider finding a mentor </li></ul><ul><li>For bigger projects consider bringing in extra help e.g funded research assistant or intern </li></ul>
    14. 14. Sharing your work <ul><li>Choose your target audience carefully - immediate colleagues; service users; broader profession; funders; policy makers – and produce outputs appropriate to that audience </li></ul><ul><li>Present your work formally and informally: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Internal meetings, workshops, poster displays, newsletters, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upload a research report to your library website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present your work at a conference (poster, paper, ‘minute madness’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write a journal article - Library and Information Research has a policy of actively encouraging new authors and practitioner research (other journals are available  ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider a book chapter or even a book </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Where do you find out about research? – put your work there! </li></ul>
    15. 15. The manager’s role <ul><li>Management support is key </li></ul><ul><li>Managers can support research by: </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing staff time for research activity </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging and supporting requests for training and development </li></ul><ul><li>Advising and supporting bids for research funding </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting a culture of research informed practice </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting practitioner research internally and externally </li></ul>
    16. 16. The manager’s role <ul><li>To embed a research culture into the library workplace: </li></ul><ul><li>Departmental strategy and planning </li></ul><ul><li>Job descriptions </li></ul><ul><li>PDR process </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated role (e.g. Research Support Specialist) </li></ul><ul><li>Research forum (e.g. Research & Innovation Group – regular meetings and online in iSpace) </li></ul>
    17. 17. What next? <ul><li>Think about how you might use what you have learned today in your own role: </li></ul><ul><li>What are you doing already that is different or innovative, and how might you share this practice with others? </li></ul><ul><li>What research project might you undertake to support or improve your service? </li></ul><ul><li>How might you promote or contribute to your own library’s research culture? </li></ul><ul><li>How might you share what you have learned today with colleagues? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you convince your managers to support you? </li></ul>
    18. 18. Thank you Miggie Pickton [email_address]