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  • This short paper will cover…
  • We have been increasing our support for researchers, in particular in information literacy, over last 6-7 years. Have had small amount of Roberts funding during this time – developed face to face half day teaching sessions for PhDs, run now by subject librarians; offer general workshops e.g. Endnote, RSS etc. popular with research-level students / staff. Aware of time restrictions / part-time nature / varied commitments of research staff – wanted to look at online alternative for them in particular (note Roberts funding should deliver to both groups), but also back-up teaching sessions for PhDs. Also aware that info for researchers was scattered about our website / different formats etc.- wanted to bring together.
  • 4 stages – research phase, user needs analysis, development phase and evaluation phase. Research – Literature review, good practice elsewhere, own resources. An update of a 2006 literature review on information literacy support for researchers was completed in October 2008; specific focus on Health and e-learning. User needs – talk about in a minute Development – plan for content developed, based on findings of research & needs analysis phases Evaluation and recommendations – going back to people who had helped in user needs analysis stage; and taking us into phase 2 of the project
  • In focus groups, questionnaires etc, researchers / librarians: Reviewed at least 2 online resources from elsewhere Commented on usefulness (to themselves / a researcher) and usability of the resource Structured discussion (or questions) on what content they would like / how they would use an online resource. Difficult to get researchers to engage / devote time to this, despite direct invites from subject librarians. Total of about 70 responses, including librarians and support staff. Also some data from a general questionnaire on training needs to one institute – 62 responses to this. Resources looked at included: WIRE – Warwick Information for Researchers University Hospitals Leicester e-learning module (online tutorial) RESIN – Research information at Newcastle Engage in research- interactive resource for Bioscience students (Reading) York University Library – Information for Researchers webpage Graduate IL module (Galway, TC Dublin, Cork)
  • A reference guide or “one-stop shop” resource based on the key stages of the research process with links signposting researchers to relevant library resources, as well as other sources of research support available within the University and externally. Researchers commented that a webpage format with links to relevant material was preferable to an interactive resource with e-learning modules and quizzes. Researchers mindset is focused on getting training to help with specific aspects of their career & work; this applies whether online or face to face.
  • Vision needed a rethink
  • Researchers and Librarians agreed on the main topics, but highlighted different ones as well. Researchers wanted broader range of info than would usually be offered through Library. Librarians wanted to present a wide range of resources covering all subject areas; but were also aware of some newer developments that would be useful to researchers (OA; primary source digitisation; library support for REF; what portal could offer in personalising content).
  • A compromise? A bit beyond library but not including as much as requested by researchers. There are areas we could still develop; we are currently looking at how to develop the literature searching section to include other subject areas. The top 2 headings (process and ethics) draw a lot from information outside the Library.
  • So we used the user analysis to develop the resource, then 6 months later went back to evaluate R@L. Questionnaire to researchers- asked to explore the site for 15 minutes then comment on its “look”, navigation, usefulness and provide any other feedback. Also evaluated by librarians, other support staff. 42 responses in total. Restrictions of our website made it difficult to present sub-sections / menus within a large section such as literature searching. We are hoping to develop a specific menu to ease this problem. Step-by-step or dip-in? Only 7.7% would navigate from beginning to end. However if information must be presented in a logical manner- what is the best way to do this with such complex info? Though only the literature searching section is subject specific, there were no negative comments about this, suggesting that for most sections generic information is ok. Now developing literature searching section in other subject areas. Note though we have only evaluated with Medicine / Health staff- will this be an issue elsewhere?
  • It is difficult to cater for research staff and students in one resource, because their approaches are different. Librarians want to tell researchers about everything step by step. One librarian commented that we should “alter the order of the boxes to be more library intense”. Do we find it hard to see our information from a researcher viewpoint? Future plans: we have reviewed lit searching section since feedback referred to here and made some improvements (though navigation still an issue). We will add further subject content and gather more feedback. Also like to do some evaluation at levels of learning / behaviours – what is the impact of the resource on researchers?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Researching researchers: developing a one-stop-shop for research support Michelle Schneider, Academic Skills Development Officer Lilac Conference, March 2010
    • 2. Researching Researchers <ul><li>Background to Researcher@Library </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher needs in relation to online resources </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher feedback on our online resource </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions / further issues </li></ul>
    • 3. Background <ul><li>Increasing IL support for researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Popular half-day courses for PhDs </li></ul><ul><li>Various workshops on offer for staff </li></ul><ul><li>Time constraints on staff </li></ul><ul><li>Variety of information / resources online </li></ul><ul><li>Roberts funding </li></ul>
    • 4. Developing an online resource: our vision and aims <ul><li>an interactive e-learning package, focusing on library resources and IL skills, taking a step-by-step approach to supporting the research process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an alternative to face to face teaching sessions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suitable for research staff (and students) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>catering for part-time staff / those with other commitments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>aimed at Faculty of Medicine and Health initially </li></ul></ul>
    • 5. User Needs Analysis <ul><li>Focus groups, email questionnaires, face to face interviews with members of Faculty of Medicine and Health, including research staff, lecturers, PhD students </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings with subject librarians within Library & information officers within Faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Meetings with other research support services within the University such as Research Support, Staff Development, IT training </li></ul>
    • 6. What researchers wanted: <ul><li>a bank of information for whole research process </li></ul><ul><li>researcher- (not library-) focused </li></ul><ul><li>easy to dip into to fulfil specific information / skills gap </li></ul><ul><li>quick, clear and simple navigation </li></ul><ul><li>some knowledge to be assumed (not too basic) </li></ul><ul><li>Up-to-date content, no broken links </li></ul>
    • 7. What researchers did NOT want: <ul><li>an interactive tutorial </li></ul><ul><li>a package they would have to follow step-by-step </li></ul><ul><li>tests / exercises / self-assessments </li></ul><ul><li>whizzy graphics / images </li></ul><ul><li>to have to login </li></ul>
    • 8. Our vision? <ul><li>an interactive e-learning package, focusing on library resources and IL skills, taking a step-by-step approach to supporting the research process </li></ul><ul><li>Our revised vision </li></ul><ul><li>an easily accessible online resource for researchers to develop and refresh their IL skills, and raise awareness of the variety of resources available to them in the Library and beyond </li></ul>
    • 9. What should the resource cover? <ul><li>Researchers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Others working in their research area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finding tricky sources of information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding / research proposals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Librarians: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wide range of sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Researcher portal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support offered by librarians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>REF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digitisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open access publishing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Literature searching, managing and disseminating information, keeping up-to-date </li></ul>
    • 10.  
    • 11. Feedback from researchers <ul><li>Navigation </li></ul><ul><li>“ a bit overwhelming and difficult to pick out useful information” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large sections or lots of sub-sections </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Presenting complex information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ it is difficult to balance the sophistication of the information and the efficiency in finding the right information” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manageable chunks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Too text-heavy and too guided for some </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No negative comments about generic information </li></ul></ul>
    • 12. Conclusions <ul><li>Researchers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>want to pick and choose information at the specific point they need it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are very time restricted – want answers not questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>don’t want to be restricted by library boundaries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are happy with generic information in some contexts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>aren’t so bothered that online info looks flashy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>have different needs / approaches to research students </li></ul></ul>