Breakout session 2

LIS DREaM Launch Conference

Discussion during breakout session 2


Professor Julie McLeod, Professor of Records Management at Northumbria University and Elizabeth Lomas, PhD research student, Northumbria University, worked with participants to help extend their research methods repertoire.



Session Description:

This session explored less well-used methods for conducting research in the library and information science discipline such as Delphi studies, co-operative inquiry, and community consultation. It drew upon real practical case examples of research undertaken at Northumbria University which have deployed such methods, and/or used novel combinations of more established methods. Novel approaches to disseminating research were also covered. The session included activities and discussion of the advantages and drawbacks of using particular methods for particular scenarios and research topics.


View this presentation on Slideshare.


Session slides handout [PDF]

Session workshop handout [PDF]

Session References [PDF]

Session Summary:

The rapporteur for this session was Silvia Anton from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.  She summarised the three research methods that were discussed in detail, including the group’s verdict on each of the methods…

Community Consultation received the highest number of votes out of the three methods discussed, with the main advantages highlighted as: 1) the wide range of individuals that could be consulted, 2) the variety of opinions that could be captured, and 3) the rich data that could be gathered. However, a number of disadvantages were discussed, including: 1) logistics of managing the whole process, 2) risk of representative dominance, 3) the challenge of avoiding group think, and 4) the nightmare of analysis.

The Delphi Method was voted second favourite.  The discussion showed that participants valued the chance to have experts develop their ideas throughout the iterative process, but that a consensus-driven approach would inevitably compromise on more innovative ideas.

The least favourite method was Cooperative Enquiry, partly because of the short-termism of the issues that get discussed. However, it has the important advantage of getting everyone involved in a highly transparent process, where everyone has the chance to be part of the analysis.

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