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This book is based on the research study undertaken by the IFLA Library Theory and Research (LTR) Section. The goals of the study were to examine what approaches to teaching research methods are currently being applied in library and information science (LIS) programs worldwide and to compare international educational models for preparing library practitioners to conduct research and evaluation studies.
As previous research and a pilot study conducted by the LTR team indicate, there are almost no international comparative studies examining how library professionals are being prepared for research in the global data-intensive environment. Practitioners are not just consumers of research, but also active contributors to scholarship. Increasingly, library professionals are expected to engage in evaluation, user studies, and data management. A strong education in research methods contributes to preparing competent researcher-practitioners and closing the gap between research and practice.
The LTR study focused on education in research methods in LIS programs worldwide. It gathered data from the LIS educators in multiple countries through a large-scale survey designed in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. The multilingual LTR research team with scholars from Canada, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and the United States conducted follow-up interviews with LIS educators collecting data about curricular models and teaching practices. The interview participants have been invited to submit case studies describing the models of professional preparation in their countries and their experiences in teaching research methods. The collected case studies provide a foundation for this book.
This book presents case studies from multiple countries and highlighting the voices of LIS educators, who teach in diverse international contexts. The introduction summarizes the findings from the LTR study and provides an international context for the case studies. The authors are LIS scholars and experienced educators. Each presents a case from a different country focusing on the levels of professional preparation, the design and learning objectives of research methods courses, and strategies in preparing students for research. The authors are encouraged to share their pedagogical approaches and to reflect on the importance of training in research methods.
Krystyna K. Matusiak, University of Denver; Kawanna M. Bright, East Carolina University, USA; Debbie Schachter, Langara College, Canada.
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