Research Portal for Academic Librarians

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  • Updated.jpg 5 September 2017


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"...Research is a process of investigation. An examination of a subject from different points of view. It’s not just a trip to the library to pick up a stack of materials, or picking the first five hits from a computer search. Research is a hunt for the truth. It is getting to know a subject by reading up on it, reflecting, playing with the ideas, choosing the areas that interest you and following up on them. Research is the way you educate yourself. ..."

Research involves the discovery and creation of new knowledge, and conducting enquiries into the nature of something, to discern or learn something new, or that has not been known before, is the basis of research. Curiously, research is often defined differently by different disciplines but is perhaps best understood by a number of key characteristics. First of all, research will often follow a structured, systematic and formal process which can be be replicated or designed specifically to solve complex local problems or to uncover new facts and relationships within a given context (Waltz and Bausell, 1981). As such, research is the process of seeking reliable answers to questions in an organized and objective way. (Payton, 1979). Research may be a controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions (Kerlinger, 1973); it seeks to find the truth through study, observation, comparisons and experimentation. Searching for knowledge (often called objective truth) through systematic methods is a critical part of the research process (Kothari, 2006). Many of the definitions available suggest a link between good research which is systematic and well-designed studies which are directed towards objectively investigating problems.

For a good overview of why librarians should be conducting research of some kind, see Tenopir C. Librarians do research too. Library Connect. Blueprint for success, Elsevier 2015.

Academic librarians' challenges in conducting research

"...librarianship is an "information poor" information profession. Decisions are routinely not supported by the evidence of well-designed investigations. Research in the field is poorly communicated, understood, and applied. It is imperative that academic librarians and higher education libraries develop and carry out systematic research and development programs." — Neal, 2006

This research portal provides information among 150+ files for academic librarians who do research. Academic librarians deal with a number of challenges in conducting their research:

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4-star.gif 4 stars denotes librarian-selected, high quality information. Starred sites are great places to begin your research.

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see S+R's latest Issue Brief, "Leveraging the Liaison Model: From Defining 21st Century Research Libraries to Implementing 21st Century Research Universities."

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