Motivating librarians to conduct research


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presented at the Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians (PAARL) National Seminar-Workshop on Empowering Information Professionals to Make a Difference, held at Fernando Hall, Ateneo de Naga University, Naga City, Philippines, 24 Oct 2006

Published in: Education, Business

Motivating librarians to conduct research

  1. 1. Motivating Librarians to Conduct Research by Fe Angela M. Verzosa
  2. 2. Introduction… <ul><li>Librarians, especially library administrators with difficult decisions to make, often call for more research. </li></ul><ul><li>Is research really what is most needed? </li></ul><ul><li>In which areas is research likely to be most productive? </li></ul><ul><li>Research should be based on and driven by specific problems identified by librarians and library administrators. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Research by library and information professionals is needed to create new knowledge and thereby contribute to the growth of LIS as a profession or discipline. </li></ul><ul><li>It is needed to improve problem solving and decision making in the workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>to make library professionals critical consumers of the research literature, </li></ul><ul><li>to better equip librarians to provide optimal information services to researchers in other fields. </li></ul><ul><li>Conducting research can contribute to career advancement for librarians, especially academic librarians on tenure track. </li></ul><ul><li>It can also improve an individual’s ability to think critically and analytically, improve staff morale, and enhance the library’s status within its community. </li></ul>Why research?…
  4. 4. Why librarians do not conduct research?... <ul><li>Lack of research-mindedness; </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians feel overwhelmed by the professional literature; </li></ul><ul><li>The great amount of research jargon discourages librarians from reading the research literature; </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians have all that they can handle keeping up with emerging information; </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of time due to technology and service responsibilities; </li></ul><ul><li>There is inadequate education/training in research methods; </li></ul><ul><li>There is the perception that research is lacking in practical applications or mission orientation; </li></ul><ul><li>There is a lack of funding; or, </li></ul><ul><li>There is a natural resistance to change or new research ideas. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Basic Issues… <ul><li>Do librarians feel ill-equipped to conduct research because they do not have a solid background in methodology? </li></ul><ul><li>Is research discouraged in their workplace? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they so overburdened with daily tasks that they do not find the time? </li></ul><ul><li>Is conducting research important to their work ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it significant to advance their career/reputation? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Survey assessment questions… <ul><li>Is reading research literature part of job expectation? </li></ul><ul><li>Is time to read research literature included in working hours? </li></ul><ul><li>Is access to library literature readily available? </li></ul><ul><li>Do librarians find research literature applicable to their job functions? </li></ul><ul><li>Is doing research part of job function? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of training do librarians get to be able to conduct proper research? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of incentives are provided to motivate librarians to conduct research? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of researches are applicable or relevant to library functions, services, or have impact on the profession? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Survey assessment questions… <ul><li>To what extent do Librarians read the research literature? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they apply the results of research to their practice? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they conduct their own research? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they interested in research? </li></ul><ul><li>What are their attitudes toward research? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they assess their research skills? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Survey results… <ul><li>Librarians who are given time to read on the job read library literature but not research-based literature on a regular basis . </li></ul><ul><li>15% of those who gave reasons for not reading research-based articles checked that they did not have enough expertise in research methods. </li></ul><ul><li>50% indicated that their master’s degree program adequately prepared them to read and understand research-based publications. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 4 out of 10 are given time to do research . Of the 4 given time, only 2 will conduct research. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 50% of the researches conducted were published. </li></ul><ul><li>As to support, about 50% were given time-off ; 25% internal funding, and 15% external. </li></ul><ul><li>As to application of research to practice, only 50% occasionally did, while 25% seldom , and 15% frequently did. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Evidence-based librarianship (EBL) <ul><li>is a means to improve the profession of librarianship by asking questions as well as finding, critically appraising and incorporating research evidence from library science (and other disciplines) into daily practice. </li></ul><ul><li>It also involves encouraging librarians to conduct high quality qualitative and quantitative research. </li></ul>
  10. 10. EBL – Implementing strategies <ul><li>The first and most important step in enabling librarians to practice their profession in an evidence-based manner, is to ensure they know how to ask well-structured questions </li></ul><ul><li>A well-built question focuses your search for information. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions can next be assigned to a domain, or general area of librarianship into which they best fit. </li></ul><ul><li>Next comes a search of the applicable literature (librarianship or otherwise) and critical appraisal of what is found in order to determine if the current literature is applicable to one's own situation, and if it is of value. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Librarianship Domains <ul><li>Reference —providing service and access to information that meets the needs of library users. </li></ul><ul><li>Education —finding teaching methods and strategies to educate users about library resources and how to improve their research skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Collections —building a high-quality collection of print and electronic materials that is useful, cost-effective and meets the users needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Management —managing people and resources within an organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Information access and retrieval— creating better systems and methods for information retrieval and access. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing/Promotion —promoting the profession, the library and its services to both users and non-users. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Preparing Librarians to conduct research... <ul><li>Training should introduce concepts and procedures for preparing, designing, conducting, and evaluating research. </li></ul><ul><li>It should provide a survey of social science research methodologies and a review of their applications , to be knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of various types of research methodologies for studying various types of problems and issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians should be active participants in research , planning, and evaluation within an organization or institution.    </li></ul>
  13. 13. What can the profession do to improve the situation?... <ul><li>librarians may need assistance in identifying </li></ul><ul><li>ideas for research, mentoring by an experienced researcher, financial support, time to do research, rewards for completing research in a timely fashion, assistance in matching research projects with personal development, and encouragement to apply the results of the research. </li></ul><ul><li>LIS degree programs, professional associations, and libraries have an obligation to prepare practitioners to conduct and critically consume research. </li></ul><ul><li>Employers can provide appropriate incentives , support, and rewards including the following: staff development activities, released time for research, sabbatical or special leaves, merit salary increases, and financial and clerical support for research projects. </li></ul>