DREaM and RiLIES project papers well-received at QQML

QQML conference

QQML conference materials

We’re pleased to report that both our papers delivered yesterday at the 4th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries in Limerick, Republic of Ireland, went well.

The paper on the DREaM project co-authored by Alison Brettle, Hazel Hall and Charles Oppenheim and presented by Alison as the last paper in the final session of the evening (18:30-20:00) was particularly well-received. Its content prompted several questions and much discussion amongst the conference delegates and led Hazel to suggest that perhaps she and Charles should set up a DREaM franchise overseas! We believe that the delivery of the paper by a participant in the DREaM project – rather than the co-investigators – lent authenticity to the messages it conveyed, and we are particularly grateful that Alison was willing to give up time both to develop the slides and travel all the way to Ireland for the conference.

This paper has helped us to disseminate information on the operation of the DREaM project, as well as raised awareness of all the resources to help support LIS researchers that we have assembled over the past year or so. Clearly the more people that can make use of these resources (particularly those from the workshops), the more valuable they become.

There is already evidence of our DREaM paper’s impact: there have been a number of new membership requests for the DREaM online community (open to anyone interested in LIS research), a surge of hits to the DREaM project pages on the LIS Research Coalition web site, and viewings of the presentation slides themselves on SlideShare (270 within 24 hours of the delivery of the paper). We’re also hopeful that some of those who attended the presentation – or heard about it – will be encouraged to come to the DREaM conference at the British Library on Monday July 9th.

Alison tweets

Alison Brettle (@BrettleAli), seated next to Alvin Schrader, was one of the top tweeters at QQML on Tuesday

Earlier in the day Hazel Hall delivered the paper she co-authored with Peter Cruickshank and Ella Taylor-Smith on the RiLIES project. It fitted nicely with two other papers in the same session: one by Dian Walster that considered how much “theory” there is in librarianship research, and another on impact measurement presented by Alvin Schrader. Unfortunately time was very tight in this session and there was no time for questions or discussion in the conference room. However, a number of delegates spoke privately with Hazel afterwards and showed interest in both phases of the RiLIES project. Hazel’s presentation on SlideShare has also attracted much attention since it was delivered in Limerick, with 244 viewings to date.

The conference itself continues until the end of the week and can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #qqml.

We have a DREaM – the Developing Research Excellence & Methods network: presentation at QQML2012

Our second paper at QQML 2012 this week is entitled “We have a DREaM: the Developing Research Excellence & Methods network”. The paper is co-authored by DREaM cadre member Dr Alison Brettle, and the DREaM project co-investigators Professor Hazel Hall and Professor Charles Oppenheim. The abstract and link to slides for the paper are given below.

We will also use this opportunity to promote the forthcoming DREaM conference on Monday 9th July at the British Library in London, and highlight the availability of bursary places for PhD, new professional and international delegates. (The deadline for the international travel bursary is Wednesday 30th May. The bursaries for PhD students are awarded on a “first come first served” basis when eligible individuals book their conference place through the online registration process.)

Abstract: We have a DREaM – the Developing Research Excellence & Methods network

This paper reports on UK efforts to support the building of the library and information science (LIS) evidence base through the work of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project. The broad aim of this project is to develop a formal UK-wide network of LIS researchers. The grant is held by Edinburgh Napier University and the work is supported by the UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition.

The project began in January 2011 and runs until August 2012. It focuses on bringing together those with an interest in developing LIS research at five UK events: two conferences (one at the start, and one at the end of the project) and a set of three linked workshops. These explore the scope of LIS and related research, the range of methods appropriate to research in the domain, and their strengths and weaknesses. Contributors include both methods experts from LIS, as well as experts from other subject domains, who explore and evaluate with participants a wide range of techniques that go beyond the standard qualitative and quantitative methods commonly deployed in LIS research. The participants, i.e., the members of the DREaM network itself, come from the full spectrum of LIS sectors, and hold roles at all career stages from student to senior management.

Brettle is a participant in the DREaM network, and Hall and Oppenheim are the project co-investigators. Drawing on their respective experiences in these roles, and based on an analysis of data collected from network members, the presenters will evaluate the project to date. This evaluation will cover its impact on participants and their relationship with research. It will also consider the value of the unique project approach that includes, for example, heavy reliance on event amplification to widen participation in the project beyond the delegates in situ, interactive sessions with network members, and the use of methods experts to share knowledge from domains external to LIS.

This paper is of direct relevance to the conference theme of methodologies for building the evidence base in library and information services. It also raises important issues related to advocacy, networking and influencing. Conference delegates who are interested in developing research capacity or expanding the LIS evidence base will be keen to learn of the UK experience.

Presentation slides

The slides for this presentation are available on SlideShare.

Ben Goldacre and the DREaM project: read all about it in CILIP Update

CILIPUpdate May 2012 cover

DREaM keynote speaker Ben Goldacre features on the cover of CILIPUpdate (photograph of Goldacre copyright Scott Hurst)

Check out the May 2012 issue of CILIP Update for news of the DREaM project and the forthcoming conference at the British Library on Monday 9th July 2012.

As well as featuring Ben Goldacre on the front cover of the magazine, there is a news item on Goldacre’s involvement in the presentation of the Library and Information Science Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award (“Ben Goldacre to present award”, p. 7).

The issue also includes a full-length feature article by Hazel Hall and Charles Oppenheim. They discuss their involvement in the DREaM project, and its efforts to mobilise the UK library and information science research community (“The possible DREaM: developing LIS research excellence”, pp. 32-33).

There are still conference places available, with travel bursaries to support the attendance of new professional, PhD student, and international delegates. To book your place please go to the DREaM conference registration page.

DREaM event 2: review, resources and thanks

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Two weeks ago we held the first of the three DREaM project workshops at the Craighouse campus of Edinburgh Napier University. We set ourselves a tight deadline to get all the workshop materials online within one week of the event, which we achieved. This blog post now provides an opportunity to reflect on the first workshop, drawing on the feedback from the 23 event evaluation forms completed, tweets by delegates (on site and remote) from the day itself and afterwards, and e-mail correspondence received by the organisers after the event. The participant reviews of the workshop posted since 25th October also give a flavour of the day.

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

The most popular evaluation form rating for elements of the workshop assessed by the delegates was “excellent”. This rating applied to all the speaker-led sessions by: (1) Professor Hazel Hall (introduction); (2) Dr Paul Lynch (ethnography); (3) Dr Louise Cooke (social network analysis); (4) Professor Andy McKinlay (discourse analysis) and (5) Professor Charles Oppenheim (research ethics and legal issues). The speakers were described as “inspiring” and admired for the “very high level of [their] presentations”. Louise Cooke’s session on social network analysis was the most popular, possibly because Louise was able to demonstrate in practice theoretical aspects of her presentation by using data gathered from the audience. The use of case studies in Charles Oppenheim’s session on ethics and legal issues also appealed because the session approach “made it real” in providing an opportunity to share ideas and experience.

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

The majority vote for the delegate-led unconference half hour session was split between “excellent” and “very good”. This is impressive given that it was only on the day itself that the presenters decided whether or not they would step up to the podium, and they were severely restricted in the amount of time available for them to make their main points, with limited access to “technology” in the form of the flip chart as a visual aid. Perhaps the most interesting (and unintended) outcome of this session was how a question from Michael Stead about public librarians’ engagement with research triggered a debate about the strength of links between LIS research and public library practice in each of the UK home nations. These exchanges are recorded in the video of unconference half hour (27 minutes in), along with the other presentations.

The most popular rating for the workshop location’s convenience, comfort and facilities, and refreshments was also “excellent”, as it was for the event administration (both before and on the day). One delegate admired the “beautiful location, comfortable room [and] delicious refreshments” and another commented on the “wonderful facilities”. The organisers were congratulated for an event that was “well-produced”.

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Given the enthusiasm for the other elements on the form, we were not surprised to see that when asked to rate the workshop as a whole, the vast majority (19 out of the 23 returns) gave this the top rating of “excellent” too. Enthusiastic comments referred to both the usefulness and the enjoyment of the day. For example, evaluation form comments included:

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the day and gained a lot of knowledge about the different research methods at our disposal.
  • A valuable, interesting event. Fabulous for networking and sharing knowledge. Have developed in so many areas. Many thanks.
  • A thoroughly enjoyable event – lots to reflect on during the train ride home.
  • Opened my mind to a range of research options that I had not systematically reviewed before.
Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Our classification of the core DREaM “cadre” members shows that the group comprises a range of participants who occupy roles in a number of sectors: six public librarians/people with policy roles closely associated with public libraries; six academic librarians; five full-time PhD students; three LIS academics; three healthcare librarians; two university researchers; one librarian who works in a government library; one librarian who works for a national library; one librarian who works for a professional body; one consultant; and one academic from another discipline. Five of these people hold PhDs and another six are either already registered for a PhD or about to register for doctoral studies. Particularly appreciated at the first workshop was the opportunity to meet and work with this “very stimulating and diverse” mix of delegates. As one remarked: “I really enjoyed the event… and meeting a variety of people from different library and information sectors”. One delegate said afterwards by e-mail that the workshop “had a very creative dynamic, which I am sure will throw up exciting avenues of research that no-one had anticipated”. This could perhaps lead to the “great things” that one of the speakers believes that the DREaM project has already started to achieve since its launch conference in July 2011.

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

We were delighted that a number of remote delegates were able to take advantage of our event amplification and follow the workshop on 25th October by referring to the presentation slides posted online in advance, watching the Twitter hashtag #lis_dream2, and keeping an eye on our CoverItLive site. From the CoverItLive archive it can be seen that 18 people beyond the workshop venue used the workshop hashtag, many of whom interacted directly with on-site participants. It is suspected that many more monitored the event over the course of the day. While some of those unable to attend expressed their regret at missing the workshop, making reference to the “lucky folk” in Edinburgh, the amplification did appear to work well off-site. As one person tweeted “Wish I could be there! But actually am getting a lot out of it from following via slides and Twitter”. Even for the on-site delegates the Twitter back-channel added a further dimension to the day. It is worth reading through the CoverItLive archive to witness the exchanges and see how conversations on topics related to the presentations develop in the Twittersphere alongside the main event. In this case, for example, there are the beginnings of an interesting debate on the value of LinkedIn versus Twitter for professional networking (as well as some more light-hearted references to cats!)

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

We now turn our attention to the next DREaM project workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January 2012. Some comments and suggestions from the first workshop will help with its planning. For example, we will be asking the session speakers if they can provide practical illustrations of the theory that they discuss in their talks, for instance by providing examples of worked data. We will also consider how we can squeeze more time for networking into the programme, perhaps by lengthening the time slot for registrations with tea/coffee at the start of the day, and the lunch break (although the core timings for the day will remain as advertised, i.e. 10:30-16:15). Given that there was some appetite amongst the remote delegates on 25th October to participate in the social network analysis exercise led by Louise Cooke, we will investigate whether the exercise/game elements of the second and third workshops might be designed with the possibility of remote participation in mind. All these ideas will be discussed by the project team, the Advisory Board, and the speakers over the coming weeks. We also welcome other suggestions to help achieve the success of the DREaM project so do get in touch even if you are not involved in the DREaM events: this project is for the whole LIS community.

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

In the meantime, we encourage all with an interest in LIS research to review the DREaM project materials from the first workshop (as well as materials from the launch conference), to join the DREaM online community (where, for example, you can “meet” others interested in LIS research, join in forum discussions – there is already the start of a conversation about ethnographic research in academic libraries to investigate the student experience, comment on the event presentations, and browse through the archive of photos from the past two events), to follow the DREaM participants Twitter list, and to follow the project itself from @LIS_DREaM.

Finally, we would just like to thank everyone for their participation in the DREaM project to date. We recognise that the success of the past two events is built on the contributions of all involved.

DREaM event 2 speaker insight: Professor Charles Oppenheim

Charles Oppenheim

Professor Charles Oppenheim

In the third in our series of speaker insights ahead of the LIS DREaM2 Workshop in Edinburgh next week, Professor Charles Oppenheim gives us a punchy introduction to the theme of his session, which will examine research ethics and legal issues. He described the mental approached required to undertake ethical research and why LIS researchers need to take heed.

Professor Charles Oppenheim is a co-investigator of the DREaM project. He is also a member of the Legal Advisory Board of the European Commission, and of the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance.

What research issues will you be discussing with the workshop participants in your presentation?

Legal and ethical issues associated with doing research

How have these issues affected your own research?

Although I have little doubt I have made mistakes in my research in the past, I try wherever possible to ensure that any research I do takes into account things like data protection/privacy and freedom of information. I also try to ensure that research methods I use are fair to respondents and are analysed correctly. It’s more to do with a state of mind than anything more specific.

How do you think these issues might be relevant to LIS researchers?

I am aware of too many poorly designed questionnaires, and research methods adopted by others that threaten respondents’ privacy.

Where can people will find more information?

A search on Amazon using the terms “research ethics” provide several useful reference books on that side. There’s no one single source on the legal side though.

To find out more about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

Library and Information Research publishes article about the DREaM project

The latest issue of Library and Information Research (the journal of CILIP’s Library and Information Group (LIRG)) includes an article on the DREaM project by Hazel Hall, Stephanie Kenna and Charles Oppenheim. The full text can be downloaded from: http://www.lirg.org.uk/lir/ojs/index.php/lir/article/view/475/516

DREaM project to support creation of UK-wide network of LIS researchers

The LIS Research Coalition is pleased to announce that the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has awarded a £45,000 grant to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. Tools The grant has been awarded to Hazel Hall for a project entitled ‘Developing Research Excellence and Methods’ (DREaM). Hazel and her co-investigator Professor Charles Oppenheim will work with representatives of the LIS Research Coalition member organisations to develop a series of training events and resources for LIS researchers. A key goal of the project is to build capacity and capability in the development and implementation of innovative methods and techniques in undertaking LIS research. The project starts in January 2011 and runs to August 2012. The first event will be a conference on Tuesday 19th July 2011 at the British Library Conference Centre in London. Further information about the project is available in a press release on the Media release page.

Conference review, thanks and resources

Thank you to everyone for their participation in the LIS Research Coalition conference on Monday.

Conference review

The analysis of the conference evaluation forms (49 returned from 81 participants) shows that the event was very well received as a valuable, stimulating and enjoyable day, particularly for making contact with other LIS researchers, learning about on-going projects, and inspiring individuals’ commitment to pursuing their own research objectives. From the LIS Research Coalition’s perspective, the event provided a great opportunity to address its aims related to bringing together information about LIS research in the UK and encouraging dialogue across the members of the LIS research community. Added to this, discussions during the day – particularly in the breakout sessions – have helped identify priority areas for investment of Coalition resources in the coming months.

The majority of delegates who completed the conference evaluation forms rated the conference as a whole as “excellent” or “very good”. The most popular sessions were Andrew Dillon’s opening keynote speech and the set of one minute madness presentations, both of which were rated “excellent” by the majority. Andrew’s presentation attracted comments such as “great keynote” and “excellent – really interesting and fascinating speaker”. There was much enthusiasm in the comments on the one minute madness session which, in a way, reflected the gusto with which the delegates participated in this activity: “One minute madness worked really well – enjoyed this very much. There should be one at every conference!” “One minute madness was brill. How amazing that it actually worked!” Michael Jubb’s introductory presentation was also well received, with the majority rating this session either “excellent” or “very good”. The most common rating for the breakout sessions was “very good”, and for Charles Oppenheim’s closing keynote, described as a “great finale” in a delegate tweet, it was “excellent”.

The choice of venue was also very popular with the delegates: the majority rated the convenience of the location, its comfort and facilities and the catering as “excellent”: “I was very impressed – plush, great air-con, gorgeous food and handy for King’s Cross. Perfect.”

Those who were involved in the conference administration were pleased that most delegates rated the arrangements as “excellent”, both prior to the conference and on the day itself. Particularly appreciated was the additional “social” information provided in advance of the conference which, it is believed, contributed to the friendly atmosphere of the event.

Feedback from our virtual participants, of which there were at least 29 actively following the conference by watching #lisrc10 on Twitter or interacting with the CoverItLive site, also showed enthusiasm for the proceedings of the day.

Conference thanks

Of course, an enormous amount of effort goes into planning a conference such as this, and we owe thanks to all involved. First we are very grateful to the conference sponsors. A special vote thanks is due to our speakers, facilitators, chairs, student rapporteurs, and the brave one minute madness speakers for their contributions on the day, as well as the hard work devoted to preparing for their roles. We should also recognise that without the commitment of the conference programme committee, we would not have enjoyed a range of sessions that was – as one delegate remarked – so “well-designed from the point of view of the flow of different events/formats and from the point of view of engagement/participation”. There are also two individuals whose work behind the scenes deserves special recognition. Stephanie Kenna, amongst other things, contributed much to the marketing of the event. Stella Wisdom managed communications between Event Logistics and the British Library. Stella also liaised with the AV team to ensure that all the speaker presentations were in order, and prepared the tailored handouts that helped guide us through the process of accessing the British Library’s wireless network.

Conference resources

We have spent the past couple of days writing up the conference sessions and posting materials to the Coalition web site. Our live blogger Kirsty Pitkin of T-Consult Ltd worked at amazing speed to edit the video footage and provide the drafts of session reports for Hazel Hall to edit. Those who have agreed to write their own reports of the event, for example for colleagues or for publication, will be particularly pleased to see the full list of resources now available below (also accessible from the conference web page). We will add links to other conference outputs, for example reviews in the professional press and individual participants’ blogs, as these are published.

All the PowerPoint presentations from the conference are also available from the LIS Research Coalition’s Slideshare site. Video footage from the day, including delegate interviews and the one minute madness session, is available from the LIS Research Coalition’s Vimeo site.

Conference taster: meet our speakers and facilitators

In the run-up to Monday’s conference, we have been interviewing speakers and breakout session facilitators to discover more about what they will be covering in their sessions, the key issues to be discussed by the LIS research community at the event, and their hopes for the day as a whole.

Michael JubbMichael Jubb, Opening speaker

“I’m going to say a little about how the Coalition came to be set up, what it is seeking to achieve, and the challenges it faces.

In terms of the LIS research landscape, the big research challenge is to do some rigorous analysis (not advocacy, though we need that as well) on the value of libraries and information services. That means looking hard at the relationships not just between inputs and outputs (the easy bit, though we need to get better at it) but at outcomes, in terms of learning – formal and informal – and research. That’s difficult, but we need to do it.

I’m looking forward to the chance to meet, discuss, and to find the points of intersection of interests and ideas.”

Andrew Dillon, Opening keynote speaker

“I’ll offer a sweeping view of a field that feels threatened yet promises so much, with suggestions to move us all forward!

I consider people – users, consumers, searchers, readers, and creators – to be the most interesting issue on the LIS research landscape. They are always what it is all about, and we should never forget it. I’m most looking forward to sharing ideas with a UK audience as it’s been a long time.”

Anne BriceAnne Brice, Research evidence – breakout session facilitator

“I think research evidence is important because we need to be able to answer the most important questions that our users, practitioners and funders have, and to be sure that we are doing the best we can with the resources we have. It needs to support decision making, expand our understanding and be seen as an essential tool in how we develop and improve our services.

I am looking forward to meeting delegates from all parts of the LIS community, to sharing ideas and solutions, and to having the time to focus on the issues around research evidence without the usual interruptions! Participants at previous workshops have identified a range of barriers to finding and using good quality research evidence, relating to the nature of the evidence base itself, the skills needed to do and use research, or to the working culture or environment. We hope that the breakout sessions will provide an opportunity to hear from lots of different perspectives, and bring different types of knowledge and experience together.”

Michael SteadMichael Stead, Research impact and value – breakout session facilitator

“In my role as a manager in public libraries, the value of research is in its effect on the decision-making process. Good quality research helps me and my colleagues to make the right decisions. In the current economic climate, it’s vitally important that we are as well-informed as we can possibly be: using the right research helps us to do that.

This a great opportunity to find out about the approach taken to research activities across all sectors of the information professions, and I’m confident that there will be a lot of valuable discussion in the breakout sessions. I would personally like to learn more about sources of research funding and how other professionals make research mesh with the day job.”

Val SkeltonVal Skelton, Research impact and value – breakout session facilitator

“I work as co-editor for Business Information Review, which is an international journal for all those who work within organisations helping them achieve maximum value from information – whether externally sourced information or internal knowledge/information/ records. Our aim is to publish articles of practical relevance to our readership. Our contributors include practitioners who work in all sectors. We also publish articles by academics and students, whose research brings insight into the achievements of other organisations and which we believe can stimulate ideas in our readership. For example, our June issue includes an article on creativity, chaos theory and KM, derived from work undertaken for a masters degree. A second article shares the experience of students who participated in a ‘customer driven knowledge factory’, and demonstrates how our readers can engage with internal customers to build knowledge and expertise.

Our readership is constantly focused on how to demonstrate the value and impact of the services they provide to their organisations. Any developments in this area are of critical importance to the journal and to the profession.”

Professor Charles OppenheimCharles Oppenheim, Closing keynote

In the interests of suspense, you will have to wait and see what Charles is going to say in his closing keynote. We feel that we need to keep some surprises for the day! You will be interested to know, however, that aspects of Charles’ presentation will be driven by delegate contributions at the conference on Monday. He did say: “I think the lack of funding and support is the key issue right now; demonstrating value and worth is the key research area that needs to be addressed. The networking opportunities and brainstorming is what interests me the most about this conference.”

You can find out more about all of our speakers, facilitators and session chairs by reading their profiles.

We look forward to hearing delegate views on these themes at the British Library on Monday. For those attending remotely, look out for tweets with the event hashtag #lisrc10, and we’ll watch out for your ideas coming through as you tweet your own contributions to the conference debates.

Coalition conference newsflash 4

The latest news from the LIS Coalition conference planning committee is that Michael Stead, e-Services Team Librarian at Bolton Library and Museum Services, has joined the team of LIS Research Coalition conference facilitators. The faciliators at the afternoon sessions on Monday June 28th thus represent four of the main LIS research stakeholder communities: (1) public libraries – Michael Stead of Bolton Library and Museum Services; (2) the corporate sector – Melanie Goody of TFPL; (3) the health service – Anne Brice of the NHS National Knowledge Service; and (4) research funders – Ailbhe McNabola of the Museum, Library and Archives Council. Our two keynote speakers – Professors Andrew Dillon and Charles Oppenheim – represent academia. David Ball of Bournemouth University and Michael Jubb of the Research Information Network, who will be chairing sessions throughout the day, respectively represent academic libraries and research funders. For further information about the conference please see the the Conference 2010 web page.

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