WelcomeAbout meProfessional experienceReturned to study, graduated MLIS from QUT in 2012.Research projectsDuring these research projects…
New or recent graduatesThose of you who are more experiencedEnthusiasm, trepidationThe world is your oysterHard to imagine that not everyone shares your excitementAccompany that fervor with a newly discovered passion for researchPersonal experience:
Making that link and jump from the theoretical to the workplace with regards to research in practice.Taking what you’ve learned about conducting and sharing research and applying it in the workplace or in your employment seeking.The critical relationship between practitioner research and evidence based practice.You will hear from several information professionals who work as researchers in practice, conduct research in practice as part of their work or use their research skills to support others. Their comments will be presented in the form of several short video clips during the session.We’ll also touch on some of the frustrations and limitations that can emerge in conducting or attempting to conduct practitioner research.We’ll also run through some of the strategies that you might find useful in seeking work, incorporating practitioner research into your current job, supporting your workforce or as you train to be an information professional.And For the next 15 minutes I’m going to share some ways that you can achieve this as a job seeker or in your current role or if you are a manager or employer, ways you can assist your staff to do so.
LIS educators and researchers speak about the importance of a research-led profession.The global and local information profession agrees that research in practice in the information profession is a proven means of improving decision making and strengthening the knowledge base of our profession.Practice should be based on up-to-date, valid and reliable research’ (Brice & Hill 2004, p. 13)Advocates argue that the adoption of this approach results in best practice and efficient use of resources. Lowe suggests the ebp is the difference between “professionals whomaintain the status quo without question and those who strive to develop theirwork practices through continual evaluation and investigation.” Harvey (2002) suggests that it is the difference between workers and professionals, ebp helping the former to become the latter.A culture of research in the information profession requires research training. But more than that, it needs practitioners to recognise and initiate research opportunitiesProfessional associations, such as ALIA and QPLA, support this with a commitment to research, research funding and professional development.The development and potential application of the research skills needed to deliver evidence based librarianship has seen some library and information science programs around Australia, such as QUT’s, overhaul their teaching and learning model to reflect more closely the needs of the profession. This now includes research projects, often industry based, to assist graduates to be research ready and prepared to identify and manage research opportunities out in the workplace and wider information profession. In some university courses, this is optional, while in others it is a required part of the program assessment.But preparing new graduates alone cannot create the rigorous evidence base and research agenda required in the information profession. Information professionals, new and experienced, across the industry must take up the torch and contribute to that knowledge and skills base.What does all this mean for you, the information professional?The skills and knowledge enabling practitioner research and contribution to ebp:Encourages learning and creation of new knowledge in our professionContributes to a robust theoretical framework that can underpin our professionEncourages libraries & other information organisations to use evidence-based decision makingPuts you in the best space for career advancement and opportunities.
However, unlike some of the more tangible and easily described skills that a graduate will identify in position descriptions and use to promote themselves as worthy candidates, these research skills are not commonly listed in position descriptions or selection criteria. And I’m yet to see a position in the information profession titled “Library practitioner researcher” or “Information professional/practitioner researcher”Australian studies suggest that a lack of understanding of ebp may be a factor in the degree to which practitioner research is accepted across the information profession. True, our graduates may be research ready, but what of some of our longer serving members of the profession. It is even thought that some are practicing it without knowing.One of the main reasons that you don’t see this listed in position descriptions or selection criteria is it is an emerging area in the information profession, over the last decade. While roles do exist in which these kinds of research skills are a necessity, they are often situated in other, albeit closely related, disciplines. Another reason is that practitioner research isn't just a task or a requirement in the selection criteria of a position description. It is a philosophy that underpins the way we can choose to approach any job. It insists that we, as information professionals, develop an evidence base upon which we can make solid decisions and use to provide accountability and support our thinking. It requires information professionals to acquire knowledge & understanding about the research process and how to identify research opportunities in the workplace and report or publish subsequent findings. It can open doors to other opportunities such as formal research studies. Many practitioner researchers have gone on to doctoral studies. Yes, there are specific roles that information professionals who have chosen to develop these skills are qualified for. But, any role in the information profession can be underpinned by the thinking and skills used by practitioner researchers. Tendency to emphasise some of the more standard skills and aspects of the information profession in job hunting and preparing for working as an information professional.
Who’s going to pay? Particularly difficult in collaborative research projects with multiple organisations represented.Working relationships with research partners, with other colleagues, with managers, with mentorsJuggling research within already full workload
Don't diminish the value of these skills & knowledge in job applications or interviews either. Selection panels are impressed by those with initiative and willingness to use systematic processes to build a case for strategic action.CollaborateFind someone in the profession who you regard as a successful practitioner researcher. Attend opportunities for refreshing your research skills. ALIA offers workshops and there are opportunities at most IP conferencesEven if you aren’t working, look for ways to write and publish. Volunteer for projects across the profession via ALIA or your alumni chapter.Stay visible and present in online and f2f professional networks. Share your plans for participating in research in practice. When opportunities arise, your name is more likely to come upPractice looking for and identifying research opportunities.Continue research in a higher degree. This was my choice.IF YOU ARE IN A JOB:Go to your manager with potential ideas for resolutions about frustrations and limitations in research in practiceE.g. Funding. Wanted to find a way to assist TAFE teachers to become aware and adept at developing online content. Suggested I develop a proposal for federally funded LEARNSCOPE funding, which I was fortunate enough to receive.Managers much more willing to consider ideas if not dumped with them to fix; go prepared; think about it beforehand.Be on the lookout for different roles and tasks that incorporate research project skills. Broaden your horizons about the sectors and types of roles you can transition to. Talk to people who work in these roles. Most people are willing to share their experience for the benefit of those new to the industry.
Help map out ways to fund research projectsEncourage a whole of team approach and ebp way of thinking.
Participate in a research project - Often industry based, these projects can … and sometimes lead to employment during or after graduation.Read widely and participate in research project circles. Good place to hear what others are experiencing, ask questions, learn from others and contribute to the learning experiences of others by sharing your own research journey – the good and the bad.Participate in as many research projects as possible.I did 3. The first 1 was quite terrifying and I focused on process much more than data. By the 3rd, my confidence had strengthened so I could focus more on my topic.Share your findings. Get published or self-publish. Writing journal submissions is daunting but it’s good practice. If not an option, consider blogging or at the very least, tweet your findings. You’ll be surprised at the interest you can generate.Apply to speak at conferences.1st RAILS7 was nerve racking.Still get nerves, but enjoy sharing a lot more too.
Now I have these skills, how can I use them: Practitioner research or research in practice in the information profession
NOW I HAVETHESE SKILLS,HOW CAN I USETHEM?Practitioner researchorconducting research in practice in the information professionLYNDELLE GUNTON
SO... YOU’RE A NEW OR RECENT GRADUATEPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
BUT… Some graduates admit to a sense of apprehension about taking these skills and knowledge and applying them in the workplace.Practitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
WHAT WE’RE Making that jump from the theoretical to the TALKING ABOUT workplace TODAY Practitioner research and evidence based practice Examples of information professionals conducting research in practice Limitations and frustrations Strategies for graduates Strategies for employers Strategies for studentsPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
PRACTITIONER Information RESEARCH profession (local & AND EVIDENCE global) BASED PRACTICE Professional organisations You, the e.g. ALIA, information EBP QPLA, professional alumni chapters Library and information studies educationPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
WHERE TO START? Looking for work in the information profession? Already working?Practitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
LIMITATIONS AND • Funding concerns FRUSTRATIONS WITH • Working relationships RESEARCH • Time management IN PRACTICE • Lack of recognition for research skills • Time constraints for publishing • Difficulties in contributing to future of LIS professional agenda • Unsupportive institutional culture • Low research engagement & subsequent impact of research outcomesPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
CASE STUDY #1INFORMATION PROFESSIONAL Alison MilesPOSITION Information Services LibrarianORGANISATION CityLibraries TownsvillePractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
Image from http://smertlibrarians.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/socmedia1.jpg WHAT CAN GRADUATES DO? • Collaborate • Find a mentor • Refresh skills • Continue study • Write and publish • Network and communicate • Identify research opportunitiesPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
CASE STUDY #2INFORMATION PROFESSIONAL Amber DeanPOSITION Usability / User Experience ResearcherORGANISATION Peak UsabilityPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO? • Encourage whole of team research engagement and partnering • Encourage individual professional development • Share research project outcomes and wins • Build a culture in which evidence based decision making is valued and automaticPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
CASE STUDY #3INFORMATION PROFESSIONAL Philippa BroadleyPOSITION Data LibrarianORGANISATION Queensland University of Technology LibraryPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO? • Participate in a research project. • Become familiar with research language and look out for positions and position descriptions that use this language. • Practice looking for and identifying LIS research opportunities • Become confident in your ability to conduct steps in the research process and share your findingsPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
IT’S UP TO YOU The commitment of all information professionals, be they new to the industry or experienced, to a culture of research in practice will provide the profession with a solid evidence based foundation on which we can confidently move into the future.Practitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia
THANK YOU Lyndelle Gunton Librarian, information professional, PhD candidate Information Studies Group Queensland University of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org @lyndellegPractitioner Research / Lyndelle Gunton New Librarians Symposium 6 - Brisbane, Australia