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Research, Evaluation and Audit

Oct 2013 | 256pp

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9781856047418
Price: £59.95
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9781856049719
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Research, Evaluation and Audit
Key steps in demonstrating your value

Edited by Maria J. Grant, Barbara Sen and Hannah Spring

This handbook provides library and information professionals with the information they need to undertake research projects in the workplace in order to inform their own practice and improve service delivery.

Whether you are a complete novice or have experience of undertaking evaluations, audits or research, this book will guide you step-by-step through the key phases of planning, doing and disseminating research. The text is divided into three sections:

  • Part 1: Getting started introduces the concepts, ethics and planning stages.
  • Part 2: Doing research, evaluation and audit explores the fundamentals of projects, including the literature review, qualitative and quantitative research methods, data analysis and research tools.
  • Part 3: Impact of research, evaluation and audit guides you through writing up your project, putting the results of your project findings into practice and dissemination to the wider community.

Written by academics and practitioners from a diverse range of sectors throughout the world, the book offers a thorough but common sense approach. Each chapter is structured to begin with a comprehensive introduction to a discrete topic area complemented with case studies drawn from a broad range of LIS contexts to illustrate the issues raised and provide transferable lessons to your own context. Whatever your experience, this book will support your project development and explain how evidence-based library and information practice is relevant to you.

Readership: This is the essential handbook for any librarian or information professional who wants to undertake research in the workplace in order to inform their own practice and the wider evidence base for library and information science. It’s also a useful guide for undergraduate and postgraduate LIS students undertaking their final year research project.

Foreword - Hazel Hall

PART 1: GETTING STARTED

1. What are research, evaluation and audit? - Barbara Sen, Maria J. Grant and Hannah Spring 
2. Building confidence - Hannah Spring and Clare McClusky 
3. Asking the right question - Sarah Coulbeck and Emma Hadfield 
4. Writing your research plan - Miggie Pickton
5. Ethics and best practice - Elizabeth Buchanan and Stuart Ferguson

PART 2: DOING RESEARCH, EVALUATION AND AUDIT

6. Reviewing the literature - Michelle Maden
7. Qualitative approaches - Alison Pickard
8. Quantitative approaches - Christine Urquhart
9. Data analysis - Jenny Craven and Jillian R. Griffiths
10. Tools to facilitate your project - Maria J. Grant

PART 3: IMPACT OF RESEARCH, EVALUATION AND AUDIT

11. Writing up your project findings - Graham Walton and Maria J. Grant 
12. Disseminating your project findings - Jane Shelling 
13. What next? Applying your findings to practice - Robert Gent and Andrew Cox 
Closing remarks - Maria J. Grant, Barbara Sen and Hannah Spring

"I strongly recommend this book, for at least one single reading, to my professional colleagues in the working settings. I do hope that they will find it helpful and use it in 'demonstrating their value' as has been suggested by editors in its sub-title. I would also suggest this book as a source book to students and practitioners who aim to write their own text in practice or research. It is step-by-step guide in doing research or working on research project. Final term students in library and information science should not miss reading it. They will definitely like it and will keep it with them while working on the research element of their education"
- Information Research

"Overall I found this an excellent book for a new researcher like myself. It took me through each stage sequentially, and I could look at past and present projects I have worked on, break them down to see room for improvement. It also opened up future opportunities that I could explore. It is written with the practitioner in mind, using excellent case studies and giving the guidance and checklists required to keep the practitioner-researcher on track. This is a book I will constantly be dipping in and out of."
- Australian Library Journal

"Grant, Sen, and Spring guide library and information science practitioners in undertaking a research, evaluation, or audit activity, drawing on the 10 steps of the research toolkit of HEALER (a UK-based network for improving research in health information management). Contributed by library and information science specialists from the UK, Australia, and US, the 13 chapters cover concepts, ethics, and the planning stages; the fundamentals of research projects, including the literature review, qualitative and quantitative methods, data analysis, and research tools; and writing up the project, putting results into practice, and disseminating them to the wider community. Case studies are provided as examples."
- Research and Reference Book News

"To me this book is not so much a one-stop-shop for those undertaking research in LIS; instead its greatest value lies in how it gently steers the reader through the research terrain, highlighting both the pitfalls and best routes to take, and giving them the context and insight to navigate and reach their own destination. Indeed it is likely that once the reader gets involved in any kind of project, this will be just one of several research texts that they reach for. However, it might ultimately end up being the most essential, by being the one that started them on their journey in the first place."
- Libfocus

"A consistent approach is maintained among the multiple authors, with clear language, an encouraging tone and an ability to engage from first principles. Each chapter is supported by case studies and further reading, linking real-world experience to theory and offering further development paths. It is fundamentally a textbook in style, and would be a ready reference work for any information professional interested in expanding his/her research skills...the structure is clear and is easy to navigate, allowing the reader to dip in and out of the book according to interest and needs."
- Archives and Records

"...highly recommended for anyone about to begin or simply interested in the processes of research, evaluating or auditing."
- Australian Academic and Research Libraries

Maria J. Grant BA (Hons) MSc (Econ) PG Cert (Ed) is Research Fellow (Information) at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University of Salford, UK. 

Barbara Sen BA MA MCLIP is Lecturer at the Information School, University of Sheffield, UK. 

Hannah Spring PGCE BA (Hons) PhD MCLIP is Senior Lecturer at York St John University, UK.

1. What are research, evaluation and audit? - Barbara Sen, Maria J. Grant and Hannah Spring 

This chapter provides an overview of the research process within the library and information sector. It introduces the concepts of research, evaluation and audit and highlights the decisive factor in selecting the approach to adopt in your project. The HEALER research toolkit demonstrates the ten steps in undertaking a research project and guidea the structure of the rest of this book. Not all ten steps will be applicable within all projects. The case studies given in this chapter illustrate the value of research, evaluation and audit in contributing to the evidence base for library and information services.

2. Building confidence - Hannah Spring and Clare McClusky 

This chapter considers some of the common barriers that sometimes affect the confidence of LIS practitioners to get involved in research, evaluation or audit and provides some practical solutions in how to overcome them. In particular, it has shows how LIS practitioners can use things that they are already good at, such as collaborating and networking, to help them engage in research. Other activities covered, such as guiding and mentoring, and the use of reflective practice in research are also presented, all of which are intended to inspire you with the confidence you need to get that research project off the ground.

3. Asking the right question - Sarah Coulbeck and Emma Hadfield 

This chapter introduces the importance of developing an idea into a well defined question and demonstrated that this is a cyclical process. It introduces the need for an initial literature review to progress ideas or spark interest and provided a list of issues to consider when embarking on a question, including access to resources, feasibility and scope and considering the benefits of working in collaboration with others. It discusses how to focus an idea through visual techniques and communication with others, in order to refine a carefully worded and answerable research question that draws from workplace evidence and informs future practices. It outlines how to formulate aims and objectives and the importance of appropriate wording in these. The development of key words at each stage is highlighted to contribute towards a successful search strategy.

4. Writing your research plan - Miggie Pickton

This chapter considers why it is important to have a research plan and how the plan must be adjusted to meet the needs of different audiences. Each element of the plan is considered in some detail and a research planning tick sheet is provided to allow you to evaluate your own plans/proposals. 

5. Ethics and best practice - Elizabeth Buchanan and Stuart Ferguson

This chapter calls to attention the many and various ethical challenges that may face you as a researcher including whay are ethics important?, risk/harms and benefits, participant selection and consent, anonymity and confidentiality, storage of data, informed consent and participant information sheets, publishing research, and legislation.

6. Reviewing the literature - Michelle Maden

This chapter considers the variety of roles literature reviews can play within a research project, from providing context through to informing data analysis and the discussion of your project findings. It highlights how the purpose and type of literature review you are undertaking will inform the approach you take and introduced the subjects of concept analysis, critiquing the literature and information synthesis. Finally, advice is given on how to structure and document your searches and project report.

7. Qualitative approaches - Alison Pickard

This chapter has identifies the major tenets of qualitative research and provides an overview of the research methods and data collection techniques associated with the qualitative approach. Where appropriate, guidelines are suggested for the design and implementation of these techniques within individual projects. Case studies and examples are provided to help illustrate points and demonstrate how theory has been put into practice.

8. Quantitative approaches - Christine Urquhart

This chapter will help you understand what can, and cannot, be achieved through quantitative research. The emphasis will be on some examples to illustrate some of the principles of quantitative research.

9. Data analysis - Jenny Craven and Jillian R. Griffiths

This chapter begins by emphasizing the importance of ‘what comes before’ the data analysis process, such as developing the research question or hypothesis, sampling strategies and data collection techniques. ‘What comes before’ will influence whether the analysis undertaken will be quantitative, qualitative, or a combination of both. The chapter then goes on to look at quantitative and qualitative analysis in more depth. It provides examples of different approaches to analysing data, including coding and thematic analysis, statistical analysis, descriptive and inferential statistics, how to find meaning from your data, and interpreting results. Case studies and working examples are provided to help illustrate points and demonstrate how theory can be put into practice. Organizations that can provide advice and support are listed, together with suggestions for further reading and useful websites.

10. Tools to facilitate your project - Maria J. Grant

This chapter moves through the resources and tools available at each stage of the research, evaluation and audit process, discussing reference management software, concept mapping, alert services, RSS readers. Some of the more commonly used tools available are listed in each section.

11. Writing up your project findings - Graham Walton and Maria J. Grant 

This chapter has introduces you to the idea of writing in all its forms, ranging from social media through to project reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. The motivation to write is considered and common barriers to writing activity are outlined along with suggested ways in which these can be mitigated. Finally the chapter looks at the process of submitting your writing to a journal, responding to feedback and correcting proofs.

12. Disseminating your project findings - Jane Shelling 

In the context of this chapter dissemination is a term used to describe ways to alert interested parties to your research findings and encourage the uptake of that evidence into practice. Presented here are ideas and suggestions to establish or improve the dissemination of research.

13. What next? Applying your findings to practice - Robert Gent and Andrew Cox 

This chapter explores the challenges associated with translating evidence into practice, both within your own organization and ensuring it is accessible for those within the wider library and information community. It considers the importance of understanding and being relevant to the needs of your stakeholders, establishing credibility to ensure your work is given the time and attention it deserves and communicating your vision in a way that is both meaningful and accessible to your audience. The value of pilot projects in establishing the applicability of your work in everyday practice is discussed.

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