RiLIES report highlights 2: dissemination strategies for impact

In a blog post that we published on February 2 2012 we announced that the full report of the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES1) was available to download, and that we would be blogging highlights of the report over the coming weeks. This is the second of the RiLIES1 highlights postings. Here we present dissemination strategies for impact.

The full RiLIES1 report makes four recommendations related to the dissemination strategies for impact. Here we consider these recommendations with reference to the literature reviewed for RiLIES1 and the outcomes of our empirical work.

1. Develop dissemination strategies that align with how and where practitioners access new information

We confirmed that if practitioners are involved throughout the lifespan of a research project, including helping to determine its scope and design, they are more likely to be aware of, and use, its outputs. Otherwise, face-to-face communication is the most popular way for practitioners to first hear about research that may be relevant to their practice. This is achieved both formally by attending events such as conferences, as well as through informal discussions. It will probably not come as a surprise to most to learn that practitioners have limited interest in peer-reviewed, academic papers.

2. Create and embed research outputs that support the use of research results

Our case studies demonstrated the benefits of creating usable artefacts – such as toolkits, training materials – and a sustainable community of practice (CoP) to support practitioners in the implementation of research findings. However, researchers need to be aware that it can take a lot of work to make a CoP sustainable, and such efforts need to continue beyond the funded period of the project.

3. Include teaching and community support materials in project plans

We found projects which were able to take advantage of additional funding to develop teaching and community support materials based on their project findings maintained a long-term impact.

4. Make research output accessible

Our literature review uncovered a line of argument across several publications that practitioners believe that research output is presented in a way that is difficult to understand. This is the “academic discourse” problem. Researchers should be encouraged to publish reports with clear lists of recommendations (and not “findings that speak for themselves”), in accessible language. Such reports should be written up in addition to any academic papers that researchers may choose to publish. A second issue that is well-recognised is information overload. Difficulties related to academic discourse and information overload can be addressed through the “translation” of research, i.e. making details relevant to practitioners available in sources that they use routinely, as well as relaying research findings in environments where people meet face-to-face, such as at conferences.

On a number of occasions participants consulted in the RiLIES project referred to the need for easily accessible research summaries. Many also regretted that they had only limited access to the research literature. This finding is important because research summaries are available, there are a number of open access repositories of LIS research already in existence, and anyone who is a CILIP member already also has access to a wide range of research resources (see, for example, the resources listed on the LIS Research Coalition’s Links pages). Here lies an opportunity for those with responsibility for freely available open access repositories of LIS research materials to raise awareness of their resources amongst the practitioner communities.

Coming up

Our next RiLIES1 report highlights post will consider the role of social media in enhancing the impact of research projects.

To read further details of the study please see the full RiLIES1 report, freely available to download.

RiLIES1 report highlights 1: main findings and recommendations

In a blog post on February 2 2012 we announced that the full report of the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES1) was available to download, and that we would be blogging highlights of the report over the coming weeks. This is the first of RiLIES1 highlights postings. Here we summarise the main findings of the report, and its recommendations.

The broad aim of our first RiLIES project was to investigate the extent to which funded research projects in the domain of library and information science (LIS) influence practice in the UK. It focused particularly on identifying factors that increase or hinder the impact of research findings on those who deliver library and information services.

The project’s findings generated new insights related to the roles of research leadership and sponsorship, and means of involving practitioners in research projects. In particular, findings:

  • highlight a preference for face-to-face channels for the dissemination of research results that is greater than has been previously reported, and
  • reveal the role of social media in raising awareness of research for the first time in a report on this theme.

Eleven detailed project recommendations were made for strategies to ensure that:

  • LIS research undertaken has high level support;
  • the execution of LIS research involves practitioners;
  • dissemination plans for LIS research take into account practitioner preferences for consuming research output;
  • LIS research output is accessible to the target audience;
  • practitioners are given support to engage with research by their employers and professional bodies, drawing on good practice within the broad community of librarians and information scientists.

Our next RiLIES1 report highlights post will consider dissemination strategies for impact.

To read further details of the study please see the full RiLIES1 report, freely available to download.

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 launch conference review, thanks and resources

DREaM project launch delegate folders and data sticks

DREaM project launch conference delegate folders, pens and data sticks

Thanks to everyone for their participation at the DREaM project launch conference last Tuesday 19th July.

We have now had a chance to analyse the conference evaluation forms and – along with feedback received by e-mail and over Twitter over the past few days, as well as conference reviews blogged by delegates – we are pleased to report that it was a successful day.

According to the 46 conference evaluation forms returned, amongst the most popular sessions was Hazel Hall’s introduction, rated by the majority of evaluations as “excellent”. Hazel Hall brought delegates up to date on the progress of the DREaM project with news of the forthcoming workshops, including the full programme for workshop 1 on Tuesday 25th October 2011 in Edinburgh. She also announced the Practitioner Research Excellence Award (details can be found on the Media releases page) to be presented by the LIS Research Coalition at the final DREaM project event on Monday 9th July 2012. She encouraged delegates to take a look at the new online community space that has been set up to encourage electronic networking amongst delegates between events.

Stephanie Kenna and Jenny Gebel at the registration desk

Stephanie Kenna and Jenny Gebel at the registration desk

Blaise Cronin’s opening keynote and Dylan Evans’ closing keynote were also were rated by the majority of evaluations as “excellent”. Delegates appreciated Cronin’s main message to look outside the immediate field for opportunities to develop research ideas, to collaborate, research and to influence. They were able to observe such an approach in action in the career trajectory of Evans, who has taken advantage of a number of links and serendipity to build a varied and interesting, if unconventional, career path.

It seemed entirely appropriate that, further to a request made to Hazel Hall by a student from outside the field of LIS, at the end of the day that delegates were invited to contribute to a research project on interactivity in research meeting design. (If you would like to contribute to this project, please complete the survey).

DREaM delegates chat beside the publishers' stands

DREaM delegates chat beside the publishers' stands

Most evaluations gave the One Minute Madness session “excellent” and “very good” ratings. Chair of the session Stella Wisdom hardly had an opportunity to blow the horn due to the excellent timing of the presenters. It was quite astonishing how much information was conveyed in the 60 second bursts. The impressed audience members tweeted encouraging and supportive comments on the session, for example: “Loving 1 minute madness. So much brilliant work esp on stories & narratives” (@bikerbid); “One minute madness was great – well done to all who took part” (@BLLizLewis). Check out the 15 minute video of the session to witness the high standard of the presentations.

Discussions in breakout session 2

Discussions in breakout session 2

The four breakout sessions were also mostly evaluated as “excellent” or “very good”. Delegate comments on the breakouts revealed how the session content had given them some useful ideas to follow up after the event. For those who attended breakout session 3 these ideas derived from a discussion of work which is well beyond the usual interests of librarians and information scientists. As one delegate tweeted “They are building a palace made of children’s milk teeth. This is not what I thought I would learn about today!” (@samanthahalf). The short time-frame for reporting back on the breakouts meant that there was no real opportunity for discussion in plenary (rated mostly “good”). Although this had been possible amongst groups and with individuals in the breakouts themselves and over tea, from the analysis of the evaluation forms it can be seen that delegates would have liked there to have been more time for discussion of the breakout outcomes. There is also an indication that the opportunity to attend more than one breakout session would have been appreciated by some delegates.

Paul Allchin lent a hand with the delegate packs as a member of the on-site team at the British Library

Paul Allchin lent a hand with the delegate packs as a member of the on-site team at the British Library

The convenience of the British Library Conference Centre (described as “lovely” by one delegate), its facilities and the catering attracted mainly “excellent” ratings, as did conference administration both before and during the event. Hazel Hall, Charles Oppenheim and Jenny Gebel particularly appreciated the positive comments from delegates on the organisation of the event, and would like to highlight here the great help of colleagues in the British Library in the conference preparations. Rossitza Atanassova did a fine job in her liaison role, and recruited a willing team of Paul Allchin, Liz Lewis and Adrian Shindler, who helped Hazel Hall and Jenny Gebel make the delegate packs and load the DREaM USB sticks with all the conference materials on Monday 18th July.

The DREaM project launch conference Twitter wall

The DREaM project launch conference Twitter wall

Although not specifically asked to comment on networking on the conference evaluation form, this theme attracted a large number of unsolicited positive remarks. One delegate commented that the involvement of delegates before the event was “outstanding”. It is thanks to Bethan Ruddock (@bethanar) that a number of delegates in London on the evening of Monday 18th July were able to meet up before the conference itself the next day. Equally the work of our event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin (@eventamplifier) made it possible for the networking to extend beyond the confines of the British Library. Our remote delegates had access to all the presentations as they were delivered, as well as the CoverItLive session where a commentary on the proceedings and tweets were brought together. Delegates also made favourable comments about the interesting mix of researchers and practitioners who had registered, and the value of new contacts to follow up in the future. 68 people tweeted the #lis_dream1 hashtag over the course of the day. The 615 tweets included contributions from delegates at the British Library and a number of remote participants who offered their views on the conference sessions and the comments of on-site delegates. There is a Twapper Keeper for the #lis_dream1 hashtag where all instances #lis_dream1 are recorded.

badges

Badges for the data geeks and data queens at the DREaM launch conference

When asked to rate the overall value of the conference “excellent” was, once more, the most popular response. Delegates offered congratulations to the DREaM project team, remarking how impressed they were with the day and how much they had enjoyed it, not least for the “incredibly insightful” presentations, “excellent speakers”, “interesting topic areas”, all the new ideas “to take away and develop” and the networking opportunities. One delegate said “[It has been a] really useful day. Let us take steps to assure a network of LIS researchers and practitioners for the future as research and practitioners should ideally feed into each other”. While the rest of the UK was focused on James and Rupert Murdoch testifying at the parliamentary committee, Simon Barron tweeted “Forget the Murdochs. The real talking point today is library science research”! (@SimonXIX)

Events such as this only come together with much effort and support from a variety of sources. Everyone involved in the DREaM project is grateful for the support offered by the AHRC as its main source of funding. We are also grateful to the recruitment firms who sponsored places for five new professional delegates. We were pleased that three publishers Ashgate, Facet and Oxford University Press were able to join us on the day and for their contributions to the delegate packs. The “data geek” and “data queen” badges supplied by Leadership Directories were particularly popular with the delegates (and, we expect, their colleagues and children at home too!)

We have almost finished uploading all the resources from the day to the event 1 presentations page, and these will soon also be added to the DREaM online community site. A further announcement will be made once everything is online. If you are interested in delegate reviews of the event, a number are already available, and some are expected shortly. Please see the DREaM launch conference reviews page to read review blog posts, videos of delegate and session leader perspectives on the day, links to archived social media activity, and photographs from the conference.

RiLIES project final survey now available

We have launched a short online survey as the final part of the LIS Research Coalition’s RiLIES project. Update: this survey closed on 15 July.

Aimed primarily at UK-based Library and Information Science (LIS) practitioners, its purpose to is check our findings to date on the relationship between the output of LIS research projects and its impact on practitioners. (If you live in another country, or are an LIS researcher or student, we would still be interested in your answers, so please feel welcome to participate too.)

You can access the survey by visiting: http://bit.ly/RiLIES2

The survey should take about 15 minutes to complete. Please submit your responses by Friday 15 July. If you can, please pass the word on to your colleagues so that they have an opportunity to make a contribution too. Many thanks!

Valuing knowledge and expertise: reporting from EBLIP6

Salford University logo This week the sixth Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP6) Conference takes place in Salford, Greater Manchester. The LIS Research Coalition is pleased to be a sponsor of the event. Coalition activities at the conference include:

It was also possible for the last of the RiLIES project focus groups with librarians working in medicine and healthcare to be scheduled to take place at the conference.

The four winners of the sponsored places are reporting on each of the four days. Their reviews will be posted to this blog over the course of the week.

Sponsored delegates at EBLIP6

Winners of sponsored places Alison Millis, Katrina Dalziel, Katie Fraser & Paolo Gardois

RiLIES looks at impact of research projects on academic librarians’ practice

On 20 June, the second of our three RiLIES projects focus groups took place as part of our work to understand the impact of research projects on librarians’ practice.

Peter Cruickshank, Stephanie Kenna and Jenny Gebel met with members of CILIP’s UC&R group at Regent’s College, London for a discussion with people in a variety of front-line and managerial roles in university and college libraries.

We started from the research question:

To what extent does the ouput of UK funded librarianship research projects influence the practice of librarianship?

Themes that emerged in our discussion included the types of research that are relevant to practitioners, and the role that students, chartering and revalidating staff have in keeping their colleagues up to date. The importance of face-to-face networking and informal links also came up, as well as how to make the best of the cost pressures which are limiting the numbers that are currently able to attend conferences.

The data collected will be analysed in full with that collected from the Perth focus group (with public librarians) and the final focus group which will take place in 28th June with medical/health librarians attending EBLIP6 on 28 June.

We also took the opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the LIS Research Coalition in general, and to encourage participation in the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project.

Thank you to Amanda Holyoak and the CILIP’s UC&R group for making it possible for us to hold our academic librarians’ focus group, and to all that took part for their contribution.

You can follow our progress through our twitter account: @LIS_RiLIES  – and please tell us if you’ve been using results from one of our five case study projects

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers