Building the skills to build the evidence base
The DREaM project aimed to establish a sustainable network of LIS researchers. To meet this aim the second, third and fourth DREaM events (of five in total, with the fifth being the concluding conference on in London on 9 July 2012) comprised three linked DREaM project workshops. Each of these included a session on:
- a broad research approach;
- a specific quantitative research technique;
- a specific qualitative research technique;
- a research “practicality” (e.g. ethics, improving research impact, influencing policy).
In addition there was an “unconference half hour” at each workshop. In this session participants took the opportunity to update the other members of the group on their research (e.g. an on-going project, ideas for a proposal, their involvement in other research-related activities such as conference committee work). Each event also included a game or task that was set in the morning and concluded later in the day.
This format was designed for a set of participants who attended all three events to develop their skills together as a “cadre”, i.e. a set of individuals committed to LIS research who would form the backbone of a network that would last beyond the duration of the DREaM project. With this priority in mind, those who registered committed to full participation at all the workshops:
- in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Napier University Craighouse campus on Tuesday 25th October 2011 (programme details; reviews of the event; lanyrd page);
- in London at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday 30th January 2012 (programme details; reviews of the event; lanyrd page);
- in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Napier University Craighouse campus on Wednesday 25th April 2012 (programme details; reviews of the event; lanyrd page)
(As well as the individual lanyrd pages for each workshop, there was one for the full workshop series.)
The financial support from the AHRC allowed us to run the workshops without charging a registration fee for the set of three. This helped make them more accessible to those who participated. In addition, travel bursaries of £150 were awarded to six new professionals and PhD students in October 2011 to support workshop participation.
Workshop themes and speakers
Themes and speakers at the workshops included:
- User involvement in research: Professor Peter Beresford, Brunel University
- Data mining: Kevin Swingler, Stirling University
- Discourse analysis: Professor Andy McKinlay, University of Edinburgh
- Ethnography: Dr Paul Lynch, Strathclyde University
- Horizon scanning: Dr Harry Woodroof, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory
- Research impact: Professor Hazel Hall, Edinburgh Napier University
- Research ethics and legal issues: Professor Charles Oppenheim, DREaM project
- Repertory grids: Dr Phil Turner, Edinburgh Napier University
- Research and policy: Professor Nick Moore, Acumen
- Research techniques from history: Dr Thomas Haigh, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- Social network analysis: Dr Louise Cooke, Loughborough University
- Webometrics: Professor Mike Thelwall, Wolverhampton University
The workshop participants are listed on the DREaM workshop cadre page.
The workshop programme was developed by the DREaM project Principal and Co-investigators Professor Hazel Hall and Professor Charles Oppenheim. They were supported by current and former members of the DREaM project advisory board: Dr Susie Andretta (formerly of London Metropolitan University), Silvia Anton (formerly of MLA), Dr Rossitza Atanassova (British Library), Christine Irving (Library and Information Research Group), Dr Michael Jubb (Research Information Network), Stephanie Kenna (LIS Research Coalition) and Professor Gunilla Widén (Åbo Akademi School of Business and Economics, Finland).