Practical Research Methods for Librarians and Information Professionals
Neal-Schuman Publishers Inc
Susan E. Beck
Finally - a guide to research methods for the real world. Library and information professionals are increasingly called upon to justify budgets, services, programs - sometimes even our very existence. This very practical and clear guide offers step-by-step guidance for using traditional research methods to help improve, validate, and ultimately advance the day-to-day work and purpose of libraries. Beck and Manuel's straight-forward and understandable approach shows how different methodologies - focus groups, usability tests, action research, classroom research, bibliometrics - can be used to evaluate and enhance library functions, including: instruction, Web site usability, program development, content analysis, user interactions, and more. Each chapter outlines a particular methodology's process, including: selecting the research topic, formulating questions, defining the population, gathering data, interpreting evidence, and telling the story. Specific advice for navigating legal and ethical concerns, avoiding incorrect inferences, overcoming communication obstacles, and working with institutional review boards is also included. This is an easy-to-use guide for practitioners and a down-to-earth introduction for library school students.