INF 397C - Introduction to Research in Library and Information Science
|Summer Session 1 2001|
Nature of social science research and its role in library and information science. Critical evaluation of research in the literature. Performance and reporting of empirical research. Qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques, including descriptive and inferential statistics. (Graduate standing)
Why should information professionals study social science research
methods? Why should they do
research? Why should an introduction to research and research
methods be required in the Master's
program in our School?
Introduction to Research in Library and Information Science (LIS
397.1) is intended to acquaint students
with reading, evaluating, and doing research. It aims to help
students bring their own and others'
research to their professional practice, no matter the setting in
which that practice takes place. In
1936, Ernest J. Reece did a study of The Curriculum in Library
Schools, and he made the useful
distinction between a librarian who is a mere caretaker and purveyor
of material and a librarian who
can inform his or her work with the ability to apply and do research
(discussed in Kathleen Heim,
"The Changing Faculty Mandate," Library Trends, Spring 1986, p. 590).
Cronin (1992, p. 123) makes a strong case that:
Professionalism creates a certain set of . . . expectations,
which, in my view, includes the
ability and willingness to conduct research and to solve
problems. . . . [B]oth the public and
funding bodies are entitled to expect that professionally
qualified librarians would have a
research capability and a commitment to improving their services
investigation and experimentation.
He continues his argument for a research orientation in library and
information science, quoting Swisher
and McClure (1984, xiii): "'The myriad constraints which librarians
must confront in the foreseeable
future will demand greater accountability for decision making. . . .
Research that directly supports
decision making . . . is a survival skill, essential for the
continued vitality of library/information
services.'" Cronin finishes this part of his discussion by citing
Lines' admonition that information
professionals must (1991, p. 6): "'look critically at all activities
. . . in a constantly experimental and
enquiring frame of mind.'"
This inquiring, critical ability gives the information professional
the opportunity to serve client groups
better and to perform other organizational tasks. All information
professionals, including librarians,
must evaluate information services, products, and policies;
understanding how to judge the research of
others and perform it oneself is essential to the success of such
evaluations. In addition, information
professionals must often write grant proposals and engage in other
activities that rely on research
Class meets June 6 - June 22. Final exam July 13, 9am-Noon.