Research Methods in Information - 2007

Research Methods in Information

KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE of research is a fundamental part of what makes an information professional, and the possession of research skills is an essential tool or achieving success in the information environment.

With the increasing need for accountability in enhancing service delivery and provision in the information workplace, research can be used to carry out benchmarking exercises, service planning and strategic development; to map user behaviour, plan operational changes, demonstrate value to stakeholders, and much more.

Added to these practical benefits is the sometimes underestimated need to engage in the questioning process that allows the individual practitioner to grow, and to increase the body of knowledge that makes up the profession.

This unique new handbook is the first to focus entirely on the research needs of the information and communications community. It provides a reference guide to the research process in the fields of information studies, communications, records management, knowledge management and related disciplines, and is designed to be of continuing use throughout the student and professional lives of its readers.

The text explores the full range of research options, including the emerging field of internet communications research, and provides the student with sufficient knowledge of the research process to embark on their own empirical research. It has a primarily practical focus, taking the reader step by step through the whole research process, and is fully supported by examples and exercises that reinforce the text and provide practical guidelines.

This essential book is of value not only to students of information and communications studies and archives and records management, but to those on a variety of courses across the disciplines, and can be used by all practitioners beginning a piece of research.

Dr Alison Jane Pickard is course leader for BSc(Hons) Information and Communications Management, BSc(Hons) Information Science and BSc(Hons) Librarianship at the University of Northumbria, where she is also ICM dissertation coordinator. She teaches Research Methods in ICM as well as other subject areas, and has project managed a number ofJISC and AHRB research projects.

SBN 978-1-85604-545-2 
9 78185610454521 
Facet Publishing 
ISBN 978-1-85604-545-2

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Setting the context
  • The research hierarchy
  • Overview of contents

Part 1 Starting the research process

1 Major research paradigms

  • Introduction
  • Positivist research
  • Postpositivism
  • Interpretivist research
  • Qualitative or quantitative methodology?
  • Qualitative research design
  • Quantitative research design
  • Criteria for judging research
  • Establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research
  • Establishing rigour in quantitative research
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

2 Reviewing literature

  • Introduction
  • Information searching and retrieval
  • Evaluation
  • Critical analysis
  • Synthesizing the research: developing a theoretical framework
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

3 Defining the research

  • Introduction
  • Designing a conceptual framework
  • The research hypothesis
  • Research aims and objectives
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

4 The research proposal

  • Why write a proposal?
  • Structure of a research proposal
  • The proposal as a research framework
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

5 Sampling

  • Why sample?
  • Population and sample
  • Probability sampling
  • Purposive sampling
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

6 Ethics in research

  • Introduction
  • Gaining access to the field
  • Informed consent
  • Anonymity or confidentiality?
  • Protecting participants
  • Ethics online
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

Part 2 Research methods

7 Case studies

  • Introduction
  • Phases in case study research
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

8 Surveys

  • Introduction
  • Descriptive surveys
  • Explanatory surveys
  • The survey process
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

9 Experimental research

  • Introduction
  • The nature of causality
  • The true experiment
  • Quasi-experimental design: the 'effects study'
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

10 Ethnography

  • Introduction
  • Components of ethnographic study
  • Virtual ethnography
  • Ethics in ethnography
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

11 Delphi study

  • Introduction
  • The Delphi process
  • Rules of a Delphi study
  • Modifying a Delphi study
  • Delphi studies and new technologies
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

12 Action research

  • Introduction
  • The action research cycle
  • Trustworthiness in action research
  • Action research as reflective practice
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

13 Historical research

  • Introduction
  • The research process
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

14 Grounded theory: method or analysis?

  • Introduction
  • Defining grounded theory
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

Part 3 Data collection techniques

15 Interviews

  • Introduction
  • What is the purpose of an interview?
  • The seven stages of the interview process
  • Online interviewing
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

16 Questionnaires

  • Introduction
  • Designing questionnaires
  • Developing questions
  • Scale items
  • Forms of questionnaire
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

17 Observation

  • Introduction
  • The role of the observer
  • Recording what you see; going in with signposts
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

18 Diaries

  • Introduction
  • The purpose of diaries in research
  • Participant diaries
  • The researcher's log
  • Structure and recording
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

19 Focus groups

  • Introduction
  • The purpose of a focus group
  • Organizing a focus group
  • Online focus groups
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

20 Usability testing

  • Introduction
  • User tests
  • Cognitive walkthroughs
  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

Part 4 Data analysis and research presentation

21 Qualitative analysis

  • Introduction
  • Phenomenological strategies
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Narrative and discourse analysis
  • Constant comparative analysis
  • Memo writing
  • Presenting qualitative findings
  • Summary
  • Research methods in information
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

22 Quantitative analysis

  • Introduction
  • Levels of measurement
  • Frequency distribution
  • Cross-tabulation
  • Measure of central tendency
  • Measures of dispersion
  • Correlation
  • Displaying data
  • Testing for statistical significance
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading

23 An overview of software for analysis

  • Introduction
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Summary
  • Suggested further reading

24 Presenting the research

  • Introduction
  • Planning the final report
  • Form and structure
  • Summary
  • Suggested further reading

Part 5 Glossary and references

  • Glossary of research terms
  • References
  • Index

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • Personal name: Pickard, Alison Jane.
  • Main title: Research methods in information / Alison Jane Pickard.
  • Published/Created: London : Facet, 2007.
  • Description: xix, 329 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
  • ISBN: 9781856045452 (pbk.); 1856045455 (pbk.)
  • LC classification: Z669.7 .P53 2007
  • LC Subjects: Information science--Research--Methodology.
  • Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. [301]-313) and index.
  • LCCN: 2007405073
  • Dewey class no.: 020.72
  • National bib no.: GBA540432
  • National bib agency no.: 013195502
  • Other system no.: (OCoLC)ocm60371611
  • Type of material: Book

 

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