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!

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

Have you used these projects?

As we enter the final phases of the RiLIES project, there are still some opportunities for practitioners and researchers to contribute further to the project. One way is to tell us if you have experience of using any of the project outputs of the case studies that we have considered as part of the RiLIES project.

We are really interested in finding examples of the results of these projects being used in day-to-day practice, or as starting points for other research – such as the inspiration for new projects, or to help develop a report or paper (whether published or not, for example as part of a literature review).

The case studies we have used are:

  • The study on public library policy and social exclusion Open To All coordinated by Dave Muddiman and reported back in 2000.
  • The eValued project in which Pete Dalton and others developed a toolkit to support library and information services staff in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the evaluation of electronic information services (EIS). This work was completed between 2004 and 2006.
  • The Research Information Network’s (RIN) 2006 study into Researchers’ use of academic libraries funded by RIN and CURL and completed by Key Perspectives.
  • The Future of school libraries project carried out by Sue Shaper and David Streatfield for CILIP’s School Libraries Group. This reported its results in 2010.
  • The project entitled Evaluating the impact of clinical librarian services led by Alison Brettle and the North West (England) healthcare librarians group in 2009.

If any of these projects has made an impact on your practice of librarianship, or you have consulted the findings to develop a new project, or a report or paper, we would love to hear from you. Please use the contact form below to tell us. Please be assured that when we use this data in the RilIES project report, individuals will not be identifiable from its content.

If you do not have any experiences to share with us, it’s possible that your colleagues do, so please pass the word around your professional contacts.

Thank you!

RiLIES project: update on data collection activities

Work continues on the RiLIES project, in which we are exploring the extent to which funded librarianship research projects influence library practice in the UK. Of particular interest are the factors that increase or hinder the impact of project outcomes on practice. We have now reached the stage of gathering data and experiences from the perspectives of (1) LIS project researchers, and (2) practitioners.

The project perspective: Case studies

We have selected six research projects which reported in the last 10 years to act as case studies for further investigation. We’ve aimed to cover a range of project size and sector, including academic, medical/health, and public libraries. We are now in the process of gathering detailed data based on questionnaires supported by telephone interviews, with specific questions for each of the case study projects. At the same time, we are planning to carry out a citation analysis to understand further the impact of the outputs of these projects on the wider community of researchers and practitioners.

As well as looking at the supply of information from research projects, we are also looking at the factors behind the demand (or lack of it) for research project findings from practitioners in different areas.

The practitioner perspective: Focus groups

We realise that is essential to understand practitioners’ experiences of research, and are planning a series of focus groups where we can explore how they access research results. We have identified three conferences and meetings in the near future which will allow us to work with specific key practitioner groups identified from our initial survey. They are:

  • Public Librarians: through Slainte (which combines the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and the CILIP Scotland (CILIPS)) on Thursday 2nd June in Perth
  • Academic Librarians: University College & Research Group meeting – at Regent’s College London on Monday 20th June
  • Healthcare librarians: At EBLIP6 in Salford on Tuesday 28th June.

The focus groups will be facilitated by Ella Taylor-Smith and Peter Cruickshank, assisted by our intern Jenny Gebel. Hazel Hall will also be at two of the sessions.

In terms of practical outcomes, it is already apparent that some LIS professionals, such as medical/health librarians, have more experience of using research outcomes to inform practice, both in supporting their customers (clinicians), and also in their own work. It is also possible that that outside academia and medical/health librarianship, practitioners generally absorb research findings indirectly from a number of sources including books, blogs and well-known practitioners, or through training courses and conferences.

The focus groups will help us to understand how researchers can best to work with practitioners’ actual patterns of work and learning. We are also aiming to find some examples how practitioners have successfully used research projects to help in their work.