LIS 239 - Research and Evaluation Methods
Dr. Rajesh Singh
The readings, discussions (online as well as in person), and written assessments, completed for LIS 239: Research and Evaluation Methods have led to understanding of the 6th ALA Core Competency – Research. Research and Evaluation Methods instilled the principles and concepts that are utilized by library and information science (LIS) practitioners and researchers as well as professionals in many other fields (Singh, 2015). The artifacts discussed below evidence the culmination of this knowledge.
Many assignments were completed throughout the duration of this course, including multiple discussion posts, in class exercises, and a few group projects. However, the chosen artifact for this competency was the assignment that required the most research, time, and dedication. The research proposal allowed me to truly understand the fundamentals of quantitative and qualitative research methods and the principles and methods used to assess the potential value of new research (Singh, 2015). The assignment was broken down into three sections: the literature review, research design, and finally the presentation of the first two parts combined.
There were many steps that led to the completion of the literature review but perhaps the most challenging part of this process was identifying and selecting a research problem. I wanted to choose something that I not only had an interest in but that could possibly benefit LIS scholarship in the future. I chose to research and ultimately write my literature review on the use of IT technology within libraries with regard to genealogical materials. While very little research has been done on this specific topic I was able to construct my literature review on various related topics and critique the selected published research effectively. Research has shown that libraries are facing competition from online repositories when it comes to accessing genealogical materials and what’s more, libraries that have digitized content are not properly equipped with the right staff to make these items available effectively. By conducting a review of the literature associated with the research problem I was able to highlight certain issues as well as suggest possible solutions to the difficulties being faced by open-access libraries today.
The second and third parts of the research proposal were not as challenging as the first. While the research design was just as time consuming as writing the literature review, the assigned text for this course, Social Research Methods by Alan Bryman, made this task as clear and easy to understand as possible. By studying different social science research strategies and methodologies, that are applicable in LIS, I was able to design the right methodology for the theoretical implementation of the selected research strategy. During the presentation of the project, I not only explained each aspect of my literature review but I also spoke about how I selected the appropriate research strategies in order to gather data on the stated research problem and did so with confidence.
Research and Evaluation Methods challenged me to articulate the ethical concerns and issues related to research and evaluation as well as discuss the importance of research and evaluation in library and information science (Singh, 2015). This course was quite possibly the most challenging course of my academic career. While the text was incredibly helpful in breaking down the concepts and ideas behind social research methods, the content of the text could be quite dense from time to time. Also included as an artifact, though not extensively discussed, are the four “research minis” assigned throughout the semester. These assignments were one of the most helpful parts of this course because the concepts discussed were put to practical use via group work. The minis allowed me to explore different ways to record and analyze data by familiarizing ourselves with research tools such as structured observations, self-completion questionnaires, structured interviews, and content analysis. These concepts would be a lot harder to grasp if just read about. The completion of these assignments allowed me to properly evaluate which method would be best for the research design portion of my research proposal.
While I may never need to conduct research quite this extensive in my own professional career, I do see the value in learning the concepts of research taught in this course. As challenging as this course was I can admit that it is also the most rewarding. The research proposal is the physical manifestation of one overcoming one’s perceived limitations. I truly believe that the research proposal has not only benefitted me as an information professional but it has also made me a better writer and researcher.
Singh, R. (2015). Course syllabus LIS 239 research and evaluation methods fall 2015 [Course handout]. Division of Library and Information Science, St. John’s University, Queens, NY.