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Enhancing Librarians’ Research Skills: A Professional Development Program


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Institute of Research Design for Librarianship (IRDL), is a three-year project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the United States, which seeks to provide professional development opportunities and a support system for academic librarians who want to improve their research skills and increase their research output. We have recently completed the first nine-day Institute for 25 librarians from all over the country, and we would like to share our experience with the international community, hoping to generate more interest and encourage more discussion on practitioner research in LIS.
*** Presented at the Library 2.014 Conference on October 8, 2014. The recording of the session is available at ***

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Enhancing Librarians’ Research Skills: A Professional Development Program

  1. 1. Enhancing Librarians’ Research Skills: A Professional Development Program Kristine Brancolini, Marie Kennedy (Loyola Marymount University) Greg Guest (FHI 360) Lili Luo, Michael Stephens (School of Information, San Jose State University)
  2. 2. Agenda • IRDL program development (Kris, Marie) • IRDL curriculum (Lili, Greg) • IRDL learning network (Michael)
  3. 3. IRDL program development • Background • Goals • Assessment plan
  4. 4. Background • Grew out of a December 2010 survey conducted by Brancolini and Kennedy • Surveyed academic librarians regarding their research experience, research confidence, and perceived barriers to conducting research *Kennedy, Marie R. & Brancolini, Kristine R. (2012). “Academic librarian research: A survey of attitudes, involvement, and perceived capabilities.” College & Research Libraries 73(5): 431-448.
  5. 5. Results of the 2010 study • How the survey informed the project and eventual grant application – Current research practice – Confidence – Methods training
  6. 6. Addressing Librarian Needs • Foster an environment of collegiality and support in the research process • Provide instruction in areas needed to complete the research design for a project developed by each participant • Encourage the dissemination of research through publication or presentation • Instill confidence in Institute Scholars about the research process by providing clear instruction on each step
  7. 7. IMLS grant to fund IRDL • Submitted grant proposal to create a learning experience and support network for academic and research librarians • Funded by IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, 2013-2016
  8. 8. Our partners • Institute of Museum and Library Services • School of Information, San Jose State University • Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium • Advisory Board
  9. 9. SCELC Research Day • Pilot the idea locally • Now an annual event • 2013 Research Day: morning of research instruction, lunch-time discussion about the Institute, and an afternoon of research posters/reports/works-in-progress networking time • Topics decided by the SCELC membership via survey • Evolution of Research Day to its current model
  10. 10. IRDL Summer Workshop • Centerpiece of the program is a nine-day summer research “bootcamp” for academic and research librarians • Convened on the LMU|LA campus June 15-26, 2014
  11. 11. Application process • Application form • Cover letter • Research proposal • CV • Letter of support from library Dean or Director
  12. 12. Selection process • Application packets each reviewed by two different Advisory Board members • Rubric used to assist decision-making • Project Directors made final decision • 87 applications, 25 selected
  13. 13. The first cohort • 1-7 years professional experience • From 12 different states • Varied professional library function
  14. 14. Our goal for the participants • Goal: Increase the number of academic librarians with specific research skills in conducting and disseminating the results of research • Objectives: – Host a nine-day research workshop in the summer, with two instructors to provide the research curriculum and one-on-one consultation – Supplement with pre-workshop activities and ongoing support for the year
  15. 15. Assessment plan • Results of assessment of Year 1 will inform changes for Year 2 • Four-part assessment plan: – Scoring of research proposals pre- and post-IRDL workshop – completed July 28-29 – Social network analysis – completed on last day of workshop – Mastery of curriculum content – pre- and post-tests throughout the workshop – Confidence – administered survey right before workshop began and at the end
  16. 16. Other evaluation activities • External reviewer from Colorado State Library who was on site for three days; interviewed instructors and participants – Identified from participants factors that contributed to learning – Identified from participants suggestions for improvement – Perceived outcomes from participants – Recommendations for improvement • Survey of participants, incorporating feedback from external reviewer; sent out July 31
  17. 17. IRDL Curriculum
  18. 18. IRDL Curriculum - Objectives • Write effective research questions and hypotheses • Choose an appropriate research design for a library science study • Conduct a literature review • Explain the conceptual logic behind various data collection approaches and describe the rationale for selection of specific methods • Access and participate in the Institute virtual community and related networks for support during the research process • Identify appropriate sampling strategies for research projects • Use and apply commonly used qualitative data collection methods • Assess and apply different qualitative data analysis options • Design and implement a survey Understand survey data management • Explain various analytic options for surveys • Understand basic principles of mixed methods research design • Choose an appropriate research dissemination forum • Write and disseminate effective research report
  19. 19. IRDL Curriculum - Instructors • Instructors – Greg Guest, Research Director, FHI 360 – Lili Luo, Associate Professor, School of Information, San Jose State University – Michael Stephens, Assistant Professor, School of Information, San Jose State University
  20. 20. IRDL Curriculum - Textbooks • Fink, A. 2013. How to Conduct Surveys: A Step- by-Step Guide, 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. • Guest, G., K. MacQueen & E. Namey. 2012. Applied Thematic Analysis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  21. 21. IRDL Curriculum – 9-day Institute • Lectures • Exercises • Quizzes • Research Proposal • Consultation on individual project and…
  22. 22. • Mixed methods over cocktail
  23. 23. Participatory Culture Participatory Learning
  24. 24. Affinity Spaces - Gee • content, something for the space to be “about.” • a generator gives the space content • both content and interaction occur • a portal affords entry into the space Gee, James Paul Semiotic Social Spaces and Affinity Spaces: From The Age of Mythology to Today's Schools. In D. Barton & K. Tusting (Eds.), Beyond communities of practice: Language, power and social context (pp. 214–232). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  25. 25. Learning from Libraries That Use Wordpress: Content-Management System Best Practices and Case Studies by Kyle L. M. Jones & Polly-Alida Farrington