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LIS403, The Role of Research Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons College, GSLIS Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons.

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Presentation on theme: "LIS403, The Role of Research Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons College, GSLIS Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons."— Presentation transcript:

1 LIS403, The Role of Research Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons College, GSLIS Spring 2005 G. Benoit, Ph.D. Associate Professor Simmons College, GSLIS

2 About the class Thematic-based – Each theme represents an aspect of research that librarians should know – Assignment at the end of each theme Readings, slides, discussion, hands-on We’ll progress as needs/interests dictate If there’s something you’d like to explore, or you have questions, feel free to ask! Thematic-based – Each theme represents an aspect of research that librarians should know – Assignment at the end of each theme Readings, slides, discussion, hands-on We’ll progress as needs/interests dictate If there’s something you’d like to explore, or you have questions, feel free to ask!

3 About the class Themes: – Craft of research – Critiquing research – Trends in LIS research – Analysis of data – Practice of research Themes: – Craft of research – Critiquing research – Trends in LIS research – Analysis of data – Practice of research From General To Specific LIS needs

4 Life cycle of research

5 Class web page Assignments page – Detailed instructions – Guidelines – Due dates Readings – All linked to our homepage – Babbie as alternative to Powell Assignments page – Detailed instructions – Guidelines – Due dates Readings – All linked to our homepage – Babbie as alternative to Powell

6 Any questions, thoughts, ideas? Expectations of the course?

7 What is research? Definitions of research Why research is important Overview of research process Why the course is valuable Definitions of research Why research is important Overview of research process Why the course is valuable

8 What is research? Significant difference between everyday use of the term and the scientific or academic use: Oxford English Dictionary: 1.“the act of searching (closely and carefully) for or after a specified thing or person” 2.“a search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific inquiry” Significant difference between everyday use of the term and the scientific or academic use: Oxford English Dictionary: 1.“the act of searching (closely and carefully) for or after a specified thing or person” 2.“a search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific inquiry”

9 What is research? Dangerous when people or organization does “casual research” (definition no. 1) but implies – They’ve done scientific research (def. #2) – Results should therefore be taken as fact – And that the results are reliable and valid. In fact, critical or scientific inquiry (def. #2) is a formal process, intended to produce results that are reliable, valid, replicable, and contribute to existing knowledge. Dangerous when people or organization does “casual research” (definition no. 1) but implies – They’ve done scientific research (def. #2) – Results should therefore be taken as fact – And that the results are reliable and valid. In fact, critical or scientific inquiry (def. #2) is a formal process, intended to produce results that are reliable, valid, replicable, and contribute to existing knowledge.

10 What is not research The term research often is used for things, on their own at least, are not true research: Going to the library to look up something (e.g., a literature search) Finding facts to prove something “How I did it…” papers Publications that use data “information gathering” Searching for data when writing an essay Compiling facts in written form The term research often is used for things, on their own at least, are not true research: Going to the library to look up something (e.g., a literature search) Finding facts to prove something “How I did it…” papers Publications that use data “information gathering” Searching for data when writing an essay Compiling facts in written form

11 General definition/criteria Research: systematic process of collecting and analyzing data or information in order to increase understanding of a phenomenon. Inquiry process Formal process of problem solving Set of procedures or steps Originates with a question or problem Statement of a goal and a specific plan of research approach … (con’t) Research: systematic process of collecting and analyzing data or information in order to increase understanding of a phenomenon. Inquiry process Formal process of problem solving Set of procedures or steps Originates with a question or problem Statement of a goal and a specific plan of research approach … (con’t)

12 General definition/criteria Often breaks down the overall problem into manageable sub-problems Requires the – Collection, – Interpretation, and – Analysis of data Often is an iterative process – Research builds on previous research – Reflected in the ‘literature review’ section Often breaks down the overall problem into manageable sub-problems Requires the – Collection, – Interpretation, and – Analysis of data Often is an iterative process – Research builds on previous research – Reflected in the ‘literature review’ section

13 Why is research important? What do you think?

14 Why is research important? Formal research can guard against the dangers of casual inquiry Fundamental tendency of people to – Accept what we hear when presented as facts – Predict future events based on causality – Accept tradition as fact – Accept authority – Inaccurate observation – Overgeneralizations – Selective observation Formal research can guard against the dangers of casual inquiry Fundamental tendency of people to – Accept what we hear when presented as facts – Predict future events based on causality – Accept tradition as fact – Accept authority – Inaccurate observation – Overgeneralizations – Selective observation

15 Why is research important? Formal research can also guard against specific faults of the researcher – Opinions about the way things should be – Applications of the misconceptions – Careless or faulty methods and observations – Ego involvement Example from medical research Formal research can also guard against specific faults of the researcher – Opinions about the way things should be – Applications of the misconceptions – Careless or faulty methods and observations – Ego involvement Example from medical research

16 Why is research important? Formal research is important also in providing a solid foundation for the… Discovery and creation of knowledge Theory building Testing, confirmation, revision, refutation of knowledge or theory Investigation of a problem for local decision making Advance a discipline or field Leads to improvements and advancements Promotion and tenure Research grants Formal research is important also in providing a solid foundation for the… Discovery and creation of knowledge Theory building Testing, confirmation, revision, refutation of knowledge or theory Investigation of a problem for local decision making Advance a discipline or field Leads to improvements and advancements Promotion and tenure Research grants

17 Overview of the research process Research is an inquiry process with specific components (Hernon, 2001) Reflective inquiry: – Problem statement – Literature review and theoretical framework – Logical structure – Objectives – Research question (the problem) or hypotheses (when appropriate) Research is an inquiry process with specific components (Hernon, 2001) Reflective inquiry: – Problem statement – Literature review and theoretical framework – Logical structure – Objectives – Research question (the problem) or hypotheses (when appropriate)

18 Overview of the research process Procedures Research design Data collection methods Data analysis: – Gathering, processing, and analyzing data Procedures Research design Data collection methods Data analysis: – Gathering, processing, and analyzing data

19 Overview of the research process Issues of reliability, validity, credibility, confirmation Presentation of findings: Accepted format for professional publication Adequate explanation of procedures and statistics Effective use of graphics Adequate interpretation and alternatives – Examples? Issues of reliability, validity, credibility, confirmation Presentation of findings: Accepted format for professional publication Adequate explanation of procedures and statistics Effective use of graphics Adequate interpretation and alternatives – Examples?

20 Overview of the research process There are other ways to present the components and steps in scientific research Important point is the formal framework Distinguishes research from the casual use of the term Enables such research to have real value (now and for unanticipated purposes) There are other ways to present the components and steps in scientific research Important point is the formal framework Distinguishes research from the casual use of the term Enables such research to have real value (now and for unanticipated purposes)

21 Why is this course important? We’re surrounded by data, stats, figures, claims that appear to be “facts” because they appear to be the result of “research”: Mass media reports that define various characteristics of “Americans” by polls or surveys [we should wonder…] – Is it a representative sample? – Is the sample size adequate? – Did the ‘researcher’ ask leading questions? We’re surrounded by data, stats, figures, claims that appear to be “facts” because they appear to be the result of “research”: Mass media reports that define various characteristics of “Americans” by polls or surveys [we should wonder…] – Is it a representative sample? – Is the sample size adequate? – Did the ‘researcher’ ask leading questions?

22 Why is this course important? As LIS students & professionals: Develop an understanding of the role of research LIS To evaluate research (critical consumers) – Does it have credence? – Does it have value? – Can you use it in your job? To get an idea of your own research Should be useful in your daily life! As LIS students & professionals: Develop an understanding of the role of research LIS To evaluate research (critical consumers) – Does it have credence? – Does it have value? – Can you use it in your job? To get an idea of your own research Should be useful in your daily life!

23 Recap Class mechanics Overview of research as a formal process Specific steps involved in the craft of research Specific influences upon the researcher Consumers must be aware of weaknesses We’ll go in detail by dividing research into theme Concur? Class mechanics Overview of research as a formal process Specific steps involved in the craft of research Specific influences upon the researcher Consumers must be aware of weaknesses We’ll go in detail by dividing research into theme Concur?


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