Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thinking about research agendas

The syllabus for my Research & Issues course this semester says that for
"Saturday, Feb. 2. Each seminar participant should be prepared to report briefly on the research agenda of the professional associations and major grant agencies related to her area of interest. Each participant will bring multiple copies of a one-page statement of her own research agenda."

1. what IS a research agenda?
2. can a professional association HAVE a research agenda?
3. the syllabus says of the course "format (oncampus, distance, conference)
Hybrid in Concept (individualized research but in a common frame and communicated to all
specialists under the umbrella of LS)" does that mean that we will all frame our research using Friedson's model?

The first thing we did in class was to differentiate between a problem and an issue (the focus of this class) so I'm thinking that the place to start is by providing support for my claim that my issue is an issue using the definition we've adopted. In class, we talked about:
How does one know when there are issues? When people disagree about what should be done.
What are some signs of disagreement? Conflict, obviously; Policy Statements, by implication.
What are the sources of the issues relating to the doctoral program?
So, what kinds of research inform a resolution of the issue?
Once the research is done, how will the issue be resolved?
Once the issue is resolved, how will the resolution be implemented? New problems, new issues.

The issue I'm interested in addressing [researching?, resolving?] has to do with teaching more about serials and electronic resources in library school.

Sample research agendas: (this one is a paragraph or two) (this one is 19 pages long, both include "themes", the longer one also contains sections that give the background and context, assessments of resources, techniques, and strategies) (this one is 60 pages long!!! and is structured similarly to the first two) (here's one about a woman in LS who has created a research agenda for digital preservation)
Another one I found broke the research project down into phases.
From, "
CIHR consists of 13 "virtual" institutes, each headed by a Scientific Director and assisted by an Institute Advisory Board. They work together to shape a national health research agenda for Canada. The institutes bring together researchers, health professionals and policy-makers from voluntary health organizations, provincial government agencies, international research organizations and industry and patient groups from across the country with a shared interest in improving the health of Canadians." (makes it sound like a system for prioritizing a group of research projects) "The Special Libraries Association (SLA), an international professional association that represents 14,000 information resource experts, is a key influence in defining and meeting the research priorities of the special library community. In June 1986, SLA's Board of Directors formed the Special Committee on Research with the charge of determining if a research program was a necessity for SLA, and, if so, to establish a'comprehensive research strategy, in particular focusing on issues especially relevant to special librarianship and information management. In June 1988, The Board of Directors voted to establish an in-house research department and a standing Research Committee, which formulated a research agenda subsequently approved by the Board in June 1989. SLA's research agenda sets forth priorities and serves as the keystone to all research conducted by and for the Association. In June 1990, the SLA Board of Directors reaffirmed the Association's commitment to research by approving the Strategic Planning Committee's recommendation that research be one of the top priorities for the next five years. This article reviews SLA's research agenda, current research activities and future priorities, and comments on the importance of research to the special library community." Abstract The author proposes a research agenda for libraries focusing on ten problem areas: rising costs, shrinking funding, electronic provision of services, deterioration of materials, use of document delivery services, changes in copyright and licensing, out-sourcing, staff training, organizational challenges, and redefining the library’s role.
ACRL Research Agenda for Library Instruction and Information Literacy:
SLA's research agenda:

So I've got a better idea of what a research agenda is and I can see that it IS possible for a professional association to have or support a particluar research agenda. It seems to me that the pertinent associations for my issue are:
4. ?
...and, of course, the next question is which "major grant agencies" might be supportive of research on this issue?

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