Breakout sessions

Val Skelton and Charlie Mayor distilling the group's thoughts into succinct burning questions

The breakout sessions were designed to generate debate around issues related to evidence, impact and value as related to LIS research.

Delegates were divided into four groups. Each group attended two sessions, both of which were led by a facilitator supported by a PhD student rapporteur. In the first, each group identified a series of challenges on either (1) evidence or (2) impact and value. They reformulated these challenges into questions to be debated by one of the other breakout groups in the second session. Our live blogger also tweeted the challenges identified to the remote audience for their suggestions. After the breakout session debates concluded the rapporteurs relayed the main points to Charles Oppenheim, who was able to incorporate the strongest messages from the breakouts into his closing keynote presentation.

Below are listed the main challenges identified for discussion, and possible future action:

  • Questions related to research design
    • What kind of evidence will we need in the future?
    • How can we identify variables and keep pace with them?
    • How do we value judgements (and other variables) that change over time?
    • How do we balance expectations with what we value as important measures?
    • How do we choose “good” research methods?
    • How do we convince people we are using good research methods?
  • Questions related to communicating our research activities and output
    • To whom are we communicating our impact and values?
    • How do we identify the different audiences for our research output, and communicate value and impact accordingly?
    • How can we use our measures of impact and value for different audiences?
    • How can we make it possible/acceptable disseminate news of less positive research outcomes so that we can build up knowledge of “lessons learned”?
  • Broad research questions to address
    • What is the wider and longer term impact of individual library initiatives?
    • What is the overall benefit of LIS research?
    • What does the library do? (What should the library do?)
  • Question on the status of LIS research per se
    • To what extent is LIS research “nice to do”?

Suggestions or comments (if not a fully fledged solution) to any of these challenges are welcomed. Please leave a comment on this post if you would like to join the post-conference debate of these issues.

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