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Researcher's learning needs


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Research Support presentation. Moira Bent. Sconul Conference 2008

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Researcher's learning needs

  1. 1. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Researchers? Who are they and what are their learning needs? Moira Bent Newcastle University
  2. 2. SCONUL Conference June 2008 What is research? Researchers said .. Research is  Theory-led; Data-led; Scholarship  Grounded in disciplines; multi / inter / trans disciplinary  Investigation; interpretation; gathering evidence  A holistic activity; a set of transferable skills  Collaborative / solo activity  Related to self  Validated by peer group  Made meaningful by an external audience
  3. 3. SCONUL Conference June 2008 What are researchers? Researchers said.. Researchers are:  Usually recognised within organization and…  people who find out new things, reflect and take action  at different levels and career stages  working in different disciplines  obliged to share what they find – to put knowledge into the public domain  ready to be challenged  making connections  passionate  ambitious
  4. 4. SCONUL Conference June 2008 The seven ages of research  Masters students  Doctoral students  Contract researchers  Early career researchers  Established academic staff  Senior researchers  Experts New Review of Information Networking (2007) 13 (2) : 81-99 { { {
  5. 5. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Early  Apprenticeship - influenced by supervisors / tutors / mentors  Skills and competences are defined (also funded and monitored)  Different levels of control  Transition from structured learning to self-organization  Interaction between personal life / prior experiences  Managing different roles e.g. other jobs, developing teaching skills  Information consumer, objective is production
  6. 6. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Early  I consider myself to be at the start of my research career, although I have been doing research for about 4 years. [Recent PhD graduate, South Africa]  I don’t think I was a good researcher for my PhD. You need to have a mentor to show you the ropes and the pitfalls. You can train for some things. The best is to work alongside someone successful and learn from them. [Dean of Research, UK]  I reckon I spent nearly all my first year reading journal articles. [Computing Sciences Final year PhD]
  7. 7. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Mid  Moving field / moving role / learning a different landscape  Balancing teaching and research  support / info guiding work management in different circumstances  situating yourself / making your name / establishing credentials  locally (e.g. in department)  wider research community  Need to be adaptable / avoiding isolation  Starting to supervise other researchers  Starting role in management / administration  Information production and consumption  Shift from systematic to pragmatic information retrieval
  8. 8. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Mid  I hardly ever use databases, probably because I’m not usually starting from a position of knowing nothing. I tend to start with a few key papers and then follow up their references. [Senior lecturer in Biology]  I used to be focused in my approach to finding mainstream resources, now I’m less so, more explorative. I guess looking for inspiration for my more mainstream ideas. [Senior Research Fellow in creative technologies] p.158
  9. 9. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Late / Senior • Developing into/ having a significant role in research leadership and administration • Leading research teams / research centres / research projects / mainstream management • Supervising and examining theses • Teaching research methods • Plenary conference speaker • Editorial board of journals etc. • Refereeing / peer reviewer / specialist assessor • Disseminating research practice or defining their field • Different IL skillsets for range of activities
  10. 10. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Late  I have 5 years to retirement but research is becoming more important in my career. I still have one, even though retirement is looming [South African researcher]  If I couldn’t find it myself on the Internet, then I’d ask my students first, my RAs, then I’d come to the library. The RAs live and die finding info. [Professor of Industrial Statistics, UK]  These days all my papers are invited plenaries and similar tertiary reviews. [Retired Professor of Chemistry, UK]  As a researcher, the difference is that I know how to do research and I am connected into all the networks. [Dean of Research, Humanities, UK]
  11. 11. SCONUL Conference June 2008 What are researchers’ learning needs? Librarians said…  Research methodology - how to do it  Updating skills for older/ experienced researchers  Awareness of needing to know  Understanding scholarly communication issues  Effective use of sources, inc people  Supervisors & librarians - skills assessment  Access to resources  Separate study spaces
  12. 12. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Researchers said.. The Library is good for my research because…  Access - hours/ open access  Electronic resources  Time saving  Friendly professionals / advice  Speed of service  Research library atmosphere/‘Wow’ factor  Escape from phone/ colleagues  Browsing/ serendipity  Library as university “icon” – to be proud of
  13. 13. SCONUL Conference June 2008 Researchers said I have concerns about  No full text access  Missing / unavailable material  English as language of scholarship  Access issues  Noisy study spaces  Management of data  REF, measuring my impact  Repositories, keeping track of my publications accurately, organising information  Time wasting, quantity of information  “E” limits research to what is easy
  14. 14. SCONUL Conference June 2008 How is research changing? Researchers said…  More accountability / Fewer blue sky opportunities  More targeted outcomes  More collaboration (UK, overseas, across different types of organisation)  Multidisciplinary research areas  Data archives – data mining, data storage  E science / grid  Repositories / Open access mandates  Harder to know all that is happening, especially in China, India etc
  15. 15. SCONUL Conference June 2008 What I like to do most of all is spend all day in the library and then go home for tea Bill Bryson (Centre for Life 2001)