Research approach and citation behaviour in library science literature


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Research approach and citation behaviour in library science literature

  1. 1. Research Approach and Citation Behaviour in Library Science Literature: A Study Based on the Analysis of PhD Thesis Accepted by University of Kerala Humayoon Kabir.Sa and Praveen.Sb a Reader,Department of Library and Information Science,University of Kerala,Trivandrum Mphil Student,Department of Library and Information Science,University of Kerla, Trivandrum b Library and information Science (LIS) education in India will be completing 100 years in 2011. Unlike other fields of knowledge, there is no fear of research duplication in this field. Because of the subjective nature of the field, the importance lies not in what is said but it lies in the fact how it is said. The present study analysis the theses and citations and changing trends in the library research and information use of the researchers. Introduction Research is the careful investigation into or a study about certain facts in order to get some new facts or information. Scientific and social science research is carried out by research institutions, semi-government and non-government organisations, universities etc. In academic field research is undertaken to attack the problems of significance or to increase theoretical knowledge. In universities research has been given due to importance (Smith,L.C 1976). Actually research is regarded as an important function of universities together with teaching and community development. Following the model of the great western universities in the 19 th and 20th century, the universities in India, also began to give active support in research activities undertaken by the higher education community which prompted it to contribute the lion's share in the country's research output. One popular method of research in library and information science is citation analysis. Citation analysis is an aspect bibliometrics, and studies reference to and from documents. Citation analysis is a research method in which references cited are statistically analysed to find what journals are cited by researchers in a particular discipline. Bibliometric studies have provided insight into emerging and obsolescent
  2. 2. areas of research by investigating those resources or materials that are used regularly. This technique has also been employed to unobtrusively determine which resources students at any level are using to conduct research for their projects and dissertations (Diadoto, 1994). Researchers need information to make their research more fruitful. They need exhaustive pin-pointed, nascent information in various stages of their investigation to guide them to the proper track to correct their mistakes and to avoid duplication. This information is got by reference, discussion etc. The reference services are provided by libraries to provide right information to the researcher right time. Among the specialized information services provided in the academic libraries, a large portion is targeted towards researchers (Smith, D.B 1976). In order to provide useful information to the researchers, it is necessary for the information professionals to know their requirements. For this many methods of user survey are employed. Analysis of citations or references made in the research reports or theses form an important indirect method for assessing information use, which undoubtedly throws light to the information requirements of the researcher. The doctoral dissertations which are products of research activity form an important source of information, because apart from giving the experimental evidences, it also records a thorough review of works that have already been done in a particular field show that proposed work is not done elsewhere (Mini Devi,B 2000) A systematic study of citations in a discipline provide a criterion for measuring the degree of interaction among the researchers. Hence the impact of scientific work may often be assessed by citation characteristics. The specific objectives of the study are; 1. To find out the research output in LIS in University of Kerala 2. To identify the thrust areas of research in LIS 3. To suggest the grey areas that requires attention of LIS researchers 4. To view the increasing tendency to acknowledge the sources consulted.
  3. 3. 5. To identify the materials i.e., the information sources used by the researchers. 6. Find the average citations made per project report 7. To find out the age of materials used. 8. To identify the recency of book and journal citations. Methodology An extensive survey of past studies was conducted, in the beginning, to give concrete shape to the research problem. All the Ph.D theses submitted in the University of Kerala from the beginning, ie. From 1985 to 2009 were analyzed. All the citations, attached to the theses examined, were subjected to analysing using bibliometric techniques. The total citations counted to 5221. All the citations were analysed in relation to the theses, to find out the relation between the cited documents and the citing documents. Analysis Number of Theses Produced During 1985-1989 there were four (17.39%) studies undertaken. There is only two (8.68%) theses submitted in 1990-1999.A steady increase can be seen after 1999,the next five year 6(26.08%) theses submitted. In 2005-2009 47.85% (11) theses were submitted in LIS. 2000-2009 together form 17 (73.9%) theses it is the period of more productivity in LIS. The UGC indicated the requirement of doctoral degree for career advancements/academic recognitions and provided grants to improve facilities. This might have been contributed for the increased output in LIS research since 2000. Subject-wise Distribution of Research Output The most favoured researched topics are bibliographic/citation/bibliometric studies, out of the 23 studies eight (34.78%) are focused in this areas. Information system design 21.74% is the second most preferred area of study.4(17.39%) studies are fall in library management, 3 studies have undertaken in user behaviour. Two (8.70%) studies are done in library evaluation. Only one study made in Library/Information services.
  4. 4. Gender – wise and Subject-wise Distribution of Research Output Table 1 Gender-wise Distribution Of Area of Research Sl. No Subject Area Number of Theses Male Female Total 1 Bibliographic /Bibliometric 4 (17.39%) 4 (17.39%) 8 (34.78%) 2 Information System/ Design 4 (17.39%) 1 (4.35%) 5 (21.74%) 3 Library management 3 1 (13.04%) (4.35%) 4 (17.39%) 4 User Behaviour 5 Library Evaluation 6 Library Services Total 2 (8.70%) 1 (4.35%) 3 (13.04%) 2 (8.70%) 2 (8.70%) 1 (4.35%) 14 (60.7%) 1 (4.35%) 9 (39.3%) 23 (100%)
  5. 5. It is found that out of the eight bibliographic/bibliometrics studies four were done by male and four were female researchers, and it is together form 34.78%.In the information system / designs area four (17.39%) studies conducted by male and one study made by female researchers.3 (13.04%) male researchers is there in library management and one study by female researcher. Two male researchers conducted study in user behaviour and one study by female researcher. 2(8.70%) studies were done in library evaluation and these two studies carried out by female researchers. There is only one study in library services and it is done by male researcher. Subject-wise vs. Year-wise Distribution The subject of study and the period in which the study is to be conducted thrown light of trends and the growth of the research in a particular discipline. In science changes may occur quickly but in social sciences it happens slowly. The area of study and the year -wise distribution shown in Table 2. Table 2 Subject Subject-wise vs Year-wise Distribution Year 1985-1989 1990-1994 1995-1999 2000-2004 2005-2009 Total Bibliographic / Bibliometrics 1 (4.35%) - - 1 (4.35%) 6 (26.08%) 8 (34.78%) Information System/ Design Library management 2 (8.70%) - 1 (4.35%) 2 (8.70%) - 5 (21.74%) - 1 (4.35%) - - 3 (13.04%) 4 (17.39%) Library Evaluation 1 (4.35%) - - - 1 (4.35%) 2 (8.70%) Library Services - - - - 1 (4.35%) 1 (4.35%) User Behaviour - - - 2 (8.70%) 1 (4.35%) 3 (13.04%) 4 (17.39%) 1 (4.35%) 1 (4.35%) 5 (21.74%) 12 (52.17%) 23 (100%) Total
  6. 6. The table shows research in bibliographic/bibliometrics study started very beginning. In the period of 2005-2009 there were six (26.08%) studies carried out in the same field. Since 2000 the user behavior studies begins three such studies carried out in this field. Information System Design on various fields of knowledge has gained attention of research scholars since 1985-2004.Llibrary services get the attention in the period of 2005-2009 and only one study done in this area. Number of Citations All the 23 theses noted contained citations which were used for the analysis .Total 5221 citations were identified, the largest number of citations in single theses is 508 and the smallest is 35. The former was theses produced in 2005 and the latter one produced in 1986.The average number of citations is 227.Out of the 23 theses six contained 101-200 citations. 9 contained between 201-300 citations. Average Citations per Theses Citations are the references appended with the research communication. It are given to acknowledge the intellectual indebtedness of the researcher. Citation study is one of the interesting areas of library professionals. Here it is intended to determine the average use of citations made by them in their research report. Subjects of Study vs. Distribution of Citations The LIS researcher’s selects different topics in their study. They refer a good number of references for their study. One of the uses of citation is to identify the source of a given statement. This analysis is to be determining the relation between subjects of study and the citations used in it.
  7. 7. Table 3 Subject of Study vs Distribution of Citations Sl. No 1 2 Subjects Bibliographic / Bibliometrics Information System/ Design Number of Theses 8 (34.78%) 5 (21.74%) Number of Citations 1570 (30.0%) 741 (14.2%) 3 Library management 4 (17.39%) 1084 (20.8%) 4 Library Evaluation 3 (13.04%) 955 (18.3%) 5 Library Services 6 User Behaviour 2 (8.70%) 1 (4.35%) 567 (10.9%) 304 (5.8%) 23 (100%) 5221 (100%) Total It is evident from the table that eight studies conducted in bibliographic/bibliometrics and it contains 1570(30.0%) citations. Five studies carried out in information system/design and it contains 741 (14.2%) citations. 1084 (20.8%) citations contain in library management.Three library evaluation studies contain 955 (1803%) citations.Two library services study contain 567 citations. One study is carried out in user behaviour and it contains 304 (5.8%) citations.It is also an interesting fact that citations contain in five information system/design study is less than the citations contain in Library management and Library Evaluation studies.These two (7) studies together form 2039 (39.1%) citations and it is more than the citations contain in eight bibliographic/ bibliometric studies.
  8. 8. Form-wise Distribution of Cited Documents Generally researchers depends wide variety of materials for their research purpose.If compare with humanities the use of different form of literature is higher in science and social science disciplines. It is here examine the extend of the use of such materials by the library science researchers. Table 4 Form-wise Distribution of Cited Documents Sl. No. Form of Documents Number of Citation Percentage 1 Journals 3219 61.65% 2 Books 1173 22.48% 3 Seminar paper/conference Proceedings 181 3.46% 4 Hand book/ Manuals 174 3.34% 5 Theses/ Dissertations 156 2.98% 6 Dictionaries/Encyclopedia 118 2.26% 7 Others 200 3.83% 5221 100% Total It indicates that journal articles are preferred by library science researchers, it ranked top with 3219 (61.65%) citations. Books are the second largest item in the list with 1173 (22.48%) citations. Seminar paper/ Conference proceedings got 181 citations. Handbook/ Manuals got 174 citations and theses/ dissertation having 156 citations. Dictionaries/Encyclopaedia having 118 (2.26%) citations. Others form together 200 (3.83%), it includes newspaper/magazine articles, letters, souvenir etc. Form of Documents vs Gender-wise Distribution The analysis of citations proves that library science researchers use wide variety of documents. Here it is examine the extend of the use of documents by male and female researchers.
  9. 9. Table 5 Form of Documents vs Gender-wise Distribution Form of Documents Male Gender-wise Distribution % Female % % Total Journals 1993 38.1 1226 23.5 3219 61.6 Books 694 13.3 479 9.2 1173 22.5 Theses/Diss ertations 90 1.7 66 1.3 156 3.0 Hand book/ Manuals 73 1.5 101 1.9 174 3.4 Seminar paper/Confer ence Proceedings Dictionaries/ Encyclopedia 118 2.3 63 1.2 181 3.5 65 1.2 53 1.0 118 2.2 Others 113 2.1 87 1.7 200 3.8 Total 3146 60.2 2075 39.2 5221 100 The analysis reveals that journals are the top most cited document by male and female researchers. Male researchers cited 1993 (38.1%) journals while their female counterparts cited 1226 (23.5), both these together form 61.6% citations.Books are the second top cited document in the list male and female researchers cited 694 (13.3 %) and 479 (9.2 %) citations. 118 (2.3%) Seminar paper/Conference Proceedings cited by male researchers and 63 (1.2%) by female researchers. Hand book/ Manuals are cited by female researchers than their male counterparts, former cited 101(1.9%) and latter cited 73 (1.5%). Others form 200 (3.8%) citations out of it 113 (2.1%) citations by male and 87 (1.7%) by female researchers. Age vs Subject –wise Distribution of Cited Documents Library science is a inter-disciplinary subject field, the researchers conducting study in different areas within the subject field. Researchers are consulting different documents that are published in different time period. Here it is examine the relation between age of documents and the subject of study selected by the LIS researchers.
  10. 10. Table 6 Age vs Subject –wise Distribution of Cited Documents Age Bibliographic/ Bibliometrics 0-5 43 Information System/ Design 25 6-10 105 11-15 Sujects Library Library management Evaluation Total Library Services User Behaviour 19 17 14 8 126 115 64 46 32 57 419 244 142 126 107 110 65 794 16-20 538 149 317 216 55 88 1363 21-25 331 110 246 312 261 23 1283 26-30 195 168 258 207 62 46 936 31 & Above 114 32 54 50 33 17 300 Total 1570 741 1084 955 567 304 5221 The analysis reveals that in bibliographic/bibliometrics studies most of the cited document’s age falls in the region of 16-20, 538 documents come under it. In Information System/ Design studies 168 documents concentrate in the 26-30 region. 317 documents cited in 16-30 age group in Library management studies.In library evaluation studies 312 documents listed in 21-25 regions. Out of the 567 documents cited in library services study 261 are concentrate in 21-25 age group. In user behaviour study 88 documents listed in the 16-20 age groups. While considering others it is identified that researchers in bibliometric/bibliographic studies used recent documents.Researchers in library management and library evaluation use almost same age documents. Conclusion Researchers need information to make their research more fruitful. They need exhaustive pin-pointed, nascent information in various stages of their investigation to guide them to the proper track to correct their mistakes and to avoid duplication. This information is got by reference; discussion etc.This study gives the details of the approach and citation behaviour of LIS researchers.
  11. 11. Analysis of doctoral theses indicates the direction in which, a specific subject field is moving. It also indicates the thrust or grey areas of research that call for attention from researchers. Research and development are the index of prosperity of the nation. The LIS research is gaining the attention of LIS researchers. The number of researchers registering for doctoral research is increasing over the years. In the era of internet, the ICT supported and professional related subject areas call for the attention of LIS researchers and research in those areas will definitely contribute to the growth of knowledge. From the point of view of the Library and Information Centres, it is essential to evaluate and study the research trends from time to time, so that it would be quite easy for designing, organising and managing the various information services and products to cater to the information needs of researchers effectively and efficiently. References 1 Diadoto, V. (1999).Dictionary of bibliometrics. New York: Haworth Press.Smith,L.C (1976). Citation Analysis. Library Trends, 30(1), 83-106 2 Mini Devi, B. (2000). Citation analysis of Ph.D theses on Raman spectroscopy awarded by the University of Kerala during 1933-1997. KELPRO Bulletin, 4(142), 63-75. 3 Smith, D.B (1976). Information problems in the humanities: Report of the British library seminar. London: British Library, BLR & DD Report No.5259 4 Smith,L.C (1976). Citation analysis. Library Trends, 30(1), 83-106