Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Incorporating a research-minded approach to professional practice #researchminded

This week I will be doing some liveblogging from the EAHIL + ICAHIS + ICLC 2015 Workshop in Edinburgh. This mainly consists of workshops, which I will blog about afterwards rather than liveblogging. However there are some interesting keynotes, and I aim to liveblog those.The hashtag is #researchminded

The opening keynote was from Professor Hazel Hall (Edinburgh Napier University) talking about: Incorporating a research-minded approach to professional practice. She started by talking about the four Edinburgh Universities (Heriot-Watt, Queen Margaret, Edinburgh Napier and Edinburgh Universities), highlighting the medical and healthcare faculties, the importance of Edinburgh medical research discoveries and her own personal connections (her father was a vet, graduating from Edinburgh!)
Turning to ther main topic of her talk, she described the work of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition, which has a website at - there is a lot of information about it there, so I won't repeat it all here. Hazel was seconded part time to direct it the coalition, in particular to prepare the bids for, and implement, the RiLIES and the follow-on DREAM projects Hazel also highlighted the @LISResearch twitter feed, which I certainly find useful to follow to get news about library and information research.
The Coalition's main aims were "to facilitate a co-ordinated and strategic approach to LIS research across the UK." and specifically to: "bring together information about LIS research opportunities and results; encourage dialogue between research funders; promote LIS practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice; articulate a strategic approach to LIS research;promote the development of research capacity in LIS."
Hazel identified that the Coalition was keen to enable people to make better use of exisiting research, to help improve service delivery, and use the evidence base to justify services' existence and development. It was felt that part of this could be done by improving access to research resources, and there are links and resources on the Coalition website. The website has not been updated since the project finished in 2012, but it still is getting hits and people find it useful.
The second strand was developing practitioner-led research, on the grounds that carrying out research can have benefits for the organisation, the service and the individual practitioner-researcher. Benefits for the individual can include being able to talk to academics about research, your job satisfaction and potential career progression.
Hazel moved on to talk in more detail about the DREAM project. It had a conference, 3 workshop events (where people had to commit to attend all three workshops) and another conference. These included expert sessions on a variety of research approaches (you can see details of workshops on the DREAM website, including videos and presentations), one-minute madness sessions, and participant research presentations.
Hazel finished by talking about the impact of the project (e.g. work by the "DREAMers"), and said that they were now doing an impact study (just about to be launched) which involves a questionnaire and focus groups. She then urged everyone to make the most of the research focus of the conference, for learning and networking.
Photo by Sheila Webber: Pollack Halls, where I'm staying during the conference.

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