Research Toolkit

The Research-SIG is here to support you to do research, and with that in mind we have developed a research starter kit.

This Research Toolkit includes guides we have developed as a SIG, and pointers to other resources that may help you navigate the research process.

How do I read a research article?

Doing  research means reading  research … and questioning.

Try structuring your thinking around these key questions in the Research Question Bank. They are useful when reading research articles  written by others, but they will also guide you as you plan your own research.

What do I read for theory and methodology?

And do I have to?!

The answer is yes!  And to make it easier, we have hand-picked some ebooks available through LIANZA’s Proquest Ebook Central subscription. As a LIANZA member you have access to them for free, using your login and password. Here's our list of suggested titles: Research ToolKit Books.

This special issue of the Journal of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice brings together information on all areas of research planning. It is particularly strong on research methods.

And just to mix it up a bit, we include a couple of MOOCs on research methods that you might like to consider signing up for (also free).

Who can I ask for guidance?

If you work in a large university library you may have access to academics and experienced researchers whom you can turn to for a quick, or long, chat to untangle your research question, decide on your methodology or makes sense of a theory.

But what if you don’t work in such a big organisation? We suggest you ring or email one of our contacts. They have the experience to talk you through a knotty problem, or act as a sounding board as you try to focus your ideas. They can’t offer long term supervision, but they are available for a conversation or check-in via email. Find our list of local Research Mentors here.

Is any funding available?

Quite possibly. Check out this list of awards and scholarships compiled by LIANZA, and don't forget to see whether some support is available through your own institution.

Do I need an ethics process for my research?

Yes if your research involves human subjects - like a questionnaire, focus group etc.  If you are working in an organisation that has an ethics approval process, such as a tertiary institution, then go through the required procedure in that institution.

If your organisation does not have an ethics approval process, read our Ethical Guidelines here (and contact an Research SIG mentor if still unsure).

How do I
write up my research
for presenting or publishing?

Structure

It’s great to share your research - both the process and the findings (and the implications for your practice) - with your colleagues and beyond.  The structure of your presentation or writing, including purpose, methodology, findings, and analysis, will generally be similar regardless of the forum or medium you are using.

Local Publications

If you want to write an article for for a New Zealand Library publication try NZLIMJ (peer reviewed link to definition journal publishing research outputs), Library Life (industry magazine with a focus on practitioner stories), or even something further afield like the Journal of Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. Check their websites and contact their editors for more specific guidelines.

Local Conferences

Possible conferences include LIANZA (biennial),  Research SIG’s RLL (Research by Librarians for Librarians; biennial), TELSIG’s conference (biennial), Library Assistants' Days, various Weekend Schools around the country and more. Note their submission dates and your preference for presenting a full or shorter poster session. They make the final decision of course.

Guides

Here are the Journal Article Guidelines and Presenter Guidelines Research SIG created.

Other
Online Guides

There are many freely available guides out there to help you plan and implement your research. A quick Google search should uncover these - but do look out for the ones published by universities, libraries and other reputable organisations who produce research.  

Here are two examples to get you started:

Final Comments

Research matters for librarians; it provides an evidence base to build and improve current library professional practice and it keeps us relevant and positioned for the future. It can be a complex process, with many elements.

Your research may be big (a peer reviewed article) or small (an in-house survey, some usability testing). The key thing is that librarians find out how to do it, do it systematically and adapt practice in light of its results.

All the best with your research!