Library and Information Science Research

Bibliography of Research Methods TextsACRL IS Research and Scholarship Committee

Beck, Susan E., and Kate Manuel. 2007. Practical Research Methods for Librarians and Information ProfessionalsNew York: Neal-Schuman. 306p. ISBN: 1555705916.

Intended for both the novice an expert researcher, this excellent textbook provide a practical and comprehensive view of how to conduct research in our field. Susan Beck and Kate Manuel examine an array of commonly used research methodologies and exemplify their successful application with real examples of studies reported in the LIS literature.

– Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009

Research methods in library and information science

Connaway, Lynn Silipigni, and Marie L. Radford. 2017. Research Methods in Library and Information Science. 6th ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 478p. ISBN:  9781440834783.

Now in its sixth edition, this book presents quantitative and qualitative research methods for a library and information science audience.  The authors primarily focus on LIS students and faculty but address professional librarians engaged in research for publication. The book begins with an overview of library research and then presents details on quantitative methods, survey research and sampling, experimental research methods, qualitative methods and analysis, interview techniques, ethnographic approaches, historical research methods, applied methods, and writing project topics like proposals and presentations techniques. In addition to the new material on qualitative methods, this edition updates many sections and adds sidebars throughout the text to highlight topics like common questions, publishing strategies, and grant-writing advice.

– Necia Wolff, 2017

Cook, Douglas, and Lesley  Farmer. 2011. Using Qualitative Methods in Action Research: How Librarians Can Get to the Why of Data. Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries. 252p. ISBN: 9780838985762.

This book is a collection of separately authored chapters intended for librarians who want to utilize qualitative methods in an action research framework focused on defining and investigating problems and typically to use the findings to develop solutions. The book is divided into three sections. Part 1 outlines the theoretical foundations of qualitative research and action research. Part 2 introduces methodologies and specific data collection methods, including discourse analysis, content analysis, interviews, observations, and focus groups.  Part 3 provides examples of actually research projects that utilized some of the methods described in Part 2. While not going into a great deal of depth, this book provides a useful and very accessible overview of qualitative approaches to action research.

– Clarence Maybee, 2013

Qualitative research and the modern library

Goodman, Valeda D. 2011. Qualitative Research and the Modern Library. Oxford: Chandos Publishing. 192p. ISBN: 9781780632681.

This book is an overview of qualitative research in the library and information science field. The volume includes an introduction to qualitative research, including collecting data, grounded theory, and analyzing data. Sections include “Examples of qualitative research in non-library settings,” “Ethnographic research practices in library settings,” “Inside the mind of the user: qualitative approaches to understanding user experience in library settings,” and “A place in the world: qualitative research as a way to study global libraries.” The volume explores case studies such as A.C. Nielsen Company as an example of media research in a non-library setting and The Rutgers Study as a way to use qualitative research to study library websites. This text will help library and information professionals seeking to get started with qualitative research.

– Courtney Baron, 2017

Gorman, G.E., and Peter Clayton. 2005. Qualitative Research for the Information Professional: A Practical Handbook. 2nd ed. London, UK: Facet Publishing. 282p. ISBN: 1856044726.

True to its title, this is a practical, focused, and very accessible text intended for students, practitioners, and researchers in information settings. A substantial revision of the 1997 edition with two new chapters, this book guides the reader through an introductory discussion of qualitative research and on to more detailed discussions of four major investigative techniques (observation, interviewing, group discussion, and historical study).  The authors explore the critical evaluation of qualitative research, fieldwork, data analysis, and finally the written reporting of processes and findings. A concluding bibliography provides additional, suggested readings and is usefully divided into three categories: theoretical writings, discussions of specific methods/issues, and published qualitative studies that may serve as informative examples.

– Merinda McLure, 2006

Green, Ravonne. 2011. Case Study Research: A Program Evaluation Guide for Librarians.Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited. 116 p. ISBN: 159158860X.

Case Study Research: A Program Evaluation Guide for Librarians helps librarians assess programs via case studies. Green has developed a hypothetical case study, and uses it to guide library researchers through the entire process of evaluation, from planning to data collection. The book also discusses ethics and relationships, data collection and management, and template and software options. Each chapter contains a case, questions and exercises. Finally, it has a brief glossary and several appendices.

– Amy Kelly, 2013

Lipu, Suzanne, Kristy Williamson, and Annemaree Lloyd. 2007. Exploring Methods in Information Literacy Research. Wagga Wagga, N.S.W: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. 196p. ISBN: 978187693861.

This book is a collection of chapters by different authors discussing various research methods used to study information literacy. The first chapter places information literacy research in a broader discussion of positivism and interpretivism.  The following chapters, all by notable researchers, describe different research methods and approaches, such as surveys, critical incident technique, grounded theory, phenomenography, and focus groups. Two chapters are dedicated to weighing the pros and cons of adopting evidence-based practice models. A final chapter discusses alternative approaches, such as feminist and cross-cultural research methods. Although readers considering using any of these methods would need to explore additional resources, this book is an excellent introduction to qualitative research methods used to study information literacy.

– Clarence Maybee, 2013

The evaluation and measurement of library services

Matthews, Joseph R. 2017. The Evaluation and Measurement of Library Services. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 446p. ISBN: 9781440855368.

This book examines the concepts and tools to plan and conduct library evaluation projects. The author uses the term evaluation synonymously with assessment.  The primary audience is library professionals though the text is positioned to be useful to library students who are studying assessment. The book is arranged in four parts with topics including evaluation process and models, qualitative and quantitative methodologies and data analysis, assessment projects examples from library operations and services at academic and public libraries, and models to assess and communicate a library’s value to stakeholders. 

– Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009; revised by Necia Wolff, 2017

Myers, Michael D., and D. E. Avison. 2002. Qualitative Research in Information Systems: A Reader. London, UK: Sage Publications. 312p. ISBN: 0761966323.

This book is a collection of scholarly articles written by leading IS researchers with the intent of making them more accessible to students, scholars, and those doing qualitative research in other fields. The chapters are divided into four parts: “Overview of Qualitative Research,” “Philosophical Perspectives,” “Qualitative Research Methods,” and “Modes of Analyzing and Interpreting Qualitative Data.” Each chapter in Part III, “Qualitative Research Methods,” discusses the strengths and limitations of specific research methods such as “action research,” “case studies,” “ethnographic research methods,” and “grounded theory.” The editors assume that the reader has a basic knowledge of qualitative research methods and statistics. This collection would help those experienced library and information specialists working in the area of qualitative research in information systems.

– Christen Cardina, 2005

Research methods in information

Pickard, Alison Jane. 2005. Research Methods in Information. London, UK: Facet Publishing. 336p. ISBN: 1856045452.

Although this book is intended for practitioners, it can used as introductory research methods textbook for undergraduate and graduate classes. Provides a solid introduction to research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, analyzing data and presenting results. 

– Jaquelina Alvarez, 2009; revised by Samantha Godbey, 2017

Rubin, Jeffrey, and Dana Chisnell. 2008. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests. New York: Wiley. 330p. ISBN: 0471594032.

This book addresses the planning, design, implementation, and analysis of usability tests. It is geared to an audience with little or no experience in usability engineering and would also be useful for college and university students. The first part of the handbook introduces fours types of usability tests: exploratory (for early stages of the development cycle), assessment (once the basic design or organization is in place), validation (late in the development cycle to verify the product’s usability), and comparison (used at any stage of development). Part two discusses testing environments and recommends one for organizations just beginning the testing process. Other chapters provide a step-by-step approach to conducting a usability test as well as strategies for setting up a usability program within your organization.

– Terry Taylor, 2006

Wallace, Danny P., and Connie Van Fleet. 2012. Knowledge into Action: Research and Evaluation in Library and Information Science. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 388p. ISBN: 1598849751.

This book provides a basic overview of research methods useful to anyone wanting to learn about or conduct library or information science research.  Designed to inform the work of practitioners in the field, the book covers a variety of methods, including historical, questionnaires, interviews, observations and experiments. One chapter discusses research ethics and specific ethical concerns related to conducting research in library settings. There is a chapter on bibliometrics and citation analysis and another that provides a broad overview of data analysis.  While readers would likely need another book to explore the details of a specific method, this book provides a useful overview of research methods for use in library or information science research and evaluation.

– Clarence Maybee, 2013

Applications of social research methods to questions in information and library science

Wildemuth, Barbara M. 2017. Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science. 2nd edition. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited. 415p. ISBN: 9781440839047.

This text focuses on improving practice in the library and information science fields through research best practices. Wildemuth focuses first on developing research questions, then discusses different types of research designs and sampling. The majority of the book, however, looks at data collection and analysis. She covers 13 different types of data collection, such as research diaries, focus groups, and observation. Each chapter includes examples of studies that utilized each method. The chapters about data analysis include detailed aspects of statistics. 

– Amy Kelly, 2013; revised by Samantha Godbey, 2017

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