Last week I attended the launch conference for the LIS DREaM (Developing Research Excellence and Measures) project. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I hadn’t anticipated so many delegates from such a variety of different backgrounds – researchers of course, but also practitioners, project workers, and other interested parties. It had even attracted some international delegates who came over just for the day!
The day began with an introduction from Hazel Hall, who talked about how the project began and what its aims were. She talked about building a cadre of LIS researchers. Merriam-Webster defines the term cadre as:
a nucleus or core group especially of trained personnel able to assume control and to train others; broadly : a group of people having some unifying relationship <a cadre of lawyers>
Hazel focused on the need for a cadre as a group of committed individuals to form backbone to support a sustainable network of LIS researchers. I like this concept, and hope I can be a part of it. I was particularly pleased to hear about the upcoming workshops introducing researchers to different research approaches, techniques and practicalities – that’s definitely something I am keen to learn more about.
The launch event was a good balance between examining the past, current and future situation to LIS Research. The first keynote by Professor Blaise Cronin was interesting to set the scene for the day – he talked about the history of LIS research, its current strengths and weaknesses, and what we can do to improve. He discussed the fact that much of LIS research is replications of tried and tested methods – he referred to it as a ‘cookie cutter’ approach (Information needs of ___, A Citation Profile of ___ etc.) – we need to break out of this.
We then heard from some brave attendees who had signed up for one minute madness – an interesting way of learning about a lot of current research in a short space of time (they all kept to time really well so there was hardly any need for the klaxon!).
I’ve seen the one minute madness on video before but never live – the people who volunteered for it are very brave! You do have a timer though and of course can practice the script beforehand, but it’s difficult to say much in just 60 seconds.
After a lunch break, we broke out into different workshops. For me, this was one of the highlights of the day. I went to a session called “Extending your research methods repertoire” and heard more about the Delphi method, cooperative enquiry, and community consultation. We discussed each of these in groups to consider the pros and cons of each method. My group examined the Delphi method and our basic conclusion was the the selection of the ‘experts’ to use for the study was both a strength and a weakness. Selection of the group of experts is really key to the success of this method, but it was interesting to consider how the method could be used in practice.
Following breakout workshops we came back together to hear from each of the sessions (chaired by the lovely Biddy Fisher), and we had the closing keynote from Dr Dylan Evans who spoke about the importance of being promiscuous in terms of research collaboration.
You can see all the resources from the day (presentations, videos, photos, and other reviews) linked to from the event page.
The main themes I took from the day were the value of collaboration and cross-disciplinary research, and the importance of ensuring LIS research is relevant to LIS practitioners, and ideally of interest to those outside the profession. Thanks to all involved in organising such a great event! 🙂