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RESEARCH, ACADEMIA AND THE PROFESSION A Status Report Ann Pederson Visiting Fellow School of Information Systems, Technology & Management, The University.

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Presentation on theme: "RESEARCH, ACADEMIA AND THE PROFESSION A Status Report Ann Pederson Visiting Fellow School of Information Systems, Technology & Management, The University."— Presentation transcript:

1 RESEARCH, ACADEMIA AND THE PROFESSION A Status Report Ann Pederson Visiting Fellow School of Information Systems, Technology & Management, The University of NSW, Sydney, Australia

2 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW2 PRESENTATION PLAN What is RESEARCH & why is it important? Characteristics of archival research Research output & infrastructure- N. America data The modern university & archival science Attitudes towards research- students, practitioners & employers Towards a viable research culture & infrastructure –Key obstacles –Positive measures to overcome them

3 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW3 WHAT IS RESEARCH? Definition: an systematic investigative approach concerned with a problem or intending to prove or disprove an hypothesis Standardised steps & sequences: –Identify and articulate research problem –Devise hypotheses to be proven or disproved –Collect, analyse & interpret relevant data –Develop & report conclusions Quality Indicators: valid problem/hypotheses/methodology, replicable, useful

4 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW4 WHY IS RESEARCH IMPORTANT FOR ARCHIVAL SCIENCE? Answers Solutions Challenge or validate Basis for wise decisions Professional knowledge base Larger Society Personal

5 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW5 RESEARCH FORMS CHARACTERISTIC OF ARCHIVAL SCIENCE Approaches –diplomatics –archival analysis –historical –behavioural –experimental –quantitative –qualitative –theoretical Research Reporting –finding aids –historical –case studies –surveys –needs assessments –impact studies –performance measurement

6 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW6 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH OUTPUT [N.America data 1970-1992] Research Article Topics –54 of 88 or 61.4% on management & professional issues; 28 are histories of institutions or biographies Quantitative Methodology 36.3% –22 Survey – 8 Citation/Bibliometric – 2 Financial analysis Qualitative Methodology 63.7% –42 historical – 6 system – 5 experimental – 2 literary – 1 legal

7 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW7 INFORMATION MANAGEMENT RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE [N. AMERICA data 1970-1992] -Cox, RJ, “An Analysis of Archival Research, 1970-1992.. “ American Archivist 57/2, 1994 Educators/Researchers –Full-time educators LIS 700 Archives 20 –Active researchers LIS 300 Archives 10 Professional Establishment –LIS - 153,000 –Archives - 10,000

8 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW8 ARCHIVAL RESEARCH “SCORECARD” Research Agendas –1978 Management, Preservation –1981 Theory –1983 Archival history –1986 Reference, Advocacy –1987 Reference –1988 Appraisal, Reference, Management –1991 Electronic records –1992 Reference –1993 - date Electronic records, recordkeeping Mixed results –heavy workloads –limited funding Positive Achievements –growth of academic programs –some stunning successes –research consortia

9 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW9 MODERN UNIVERSITY ENVIRONMENT Knowledge explosion Research = success Hegemony of other fields Infrastructure & social equity discipline neglect Reduced public funding Damaging responses to fiscal crisis

10 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW10 DAMAGING RESPONSES emphasis on fundraising more & higher fees more, but lower quality students fewer academic positions fewer hours & subjects in courses large group or self-instruction machine scoreable forms of assessment NOT A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT FOR DEEP LEARNING

11 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW11 ACADEMIC POSITION OF ARCHIVAL SCIENCE Minority, poorly understood, “essential but invisible” meta-discipline & proto-profession “fuzzy” knowledge base expanding demands no cohesive identity or professional mission research - applied, local no specific research category intellect-, time- and labour-intensive “vocation” low market demand or reward temperamentally unsuited?

12 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW12 TYPICAL ARCHIVAL ACADEMIC WORKLOAD (Full-time): *35 hrs. 40%Teaching preparation & delivery 25%Research & Writing, including supervision 5%Consultancies/Enterprise Activities 15%Professional Leadership & Service including continuing education 15%Program/School/University/Administration 100% Total

13 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW13 RESEARCH & STUDENTS Tensions Students have little grasp of discipline Most are not “research ready” Most only seek preparation for historically-oriented job Press of post-modern life vs. requirements of deep learning Opportunities Discipline research is interesting & challenging Study whilst working in field is growing trend Employers increasingly value skills learned through research

14 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW14 RESEARCH & PRACTITIONERS Tensions 25-35% qualified Formal education not a priority Skepticism of theory Trend towards post- appointment P/T study Employer supports job- related study Opportunities Need for up-to-date knowledge & skills Experienced practitioners are better students Personal growth & professionalism

15 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW15 RESEARCH & EMPLOYERS Tensions Growing workload vs. shrinking resources Theory vs. reality Support for training vs. education & research Educators need employer involvement Opportunities Many employers are graduates More demand for professional RK requires specialist education Employers benefit from involvement with academe

16 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW16 OBSTACLES TO SUCCESSFUL LEARNING & RESEARCH DEEP LEARNING = an essential pre-requisite Split between how to do archival work & how to think archivally Few graduates possess the will or the funding to undertake research degrees New archival career academics lack practical experience Archival academics have unrealistic workloads


18 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW18 OTHER WAYS TO BOOST RESEARCH OUTPUT MICRO LEVEL Integrate workload Communicate & network –“team” & “piggyback efforts –a few good projects –creative funding –maximise success MACRO LEVEL Make education & research prominent issues Form/join consortia –contribute to priority research agendas –provide comment/advice –report & publicise

19 Ann Pederson SISTM UNSW19 FINIS...Thanks

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