What is research?

• Long Dictionary Definition: • “A studious inquiry or examination, especially a critical investigation or experimentation having for its aim the discover of new facts and their correct interpretation the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of new discovered facts or the practical application of such conclusions, theories or laws.”

What is research? No. 2
• Short dictionary definition: • “Diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover facts or principles.”

What is research? No. 3
• Very short dictionary definition: • “To look again.”
• • • •

Research: basic elements
Critical discover interpretation laws, theories, principles

Ways of Knowing about the World: Inquiry Strategies
w Authority w Religion w Tradition w Intuition w Creativity w Science and scientific research

Authority as a way of knowing
• Sources of authority: • • • • parents the state our boss etc.


• • • • • Tradition as a way of knowing Sources and benefits of tradition: We’ve always done it that way… Folkways Cultural patterns We know how to behave in certain situations Scientific research: focus of this course • Science is only one way to know about the world but it has the following characteristics to commend it: Research: Divisions • Basic research: looks at causes. A search for understanding of reality (the empirical world) • 2. The hypothesis (or best guess) as the the “answer” to that problem. This understanding is achieved by statements of general laws or principles • 3. • 3. • 4. Reaching conclusions about the problem. 2 . Scientific research: the procedures • 1. Analysis of the data • 5. The problem and problem statement • 2.Religion as a way of knowing • • • • • • Sources and types of knowledge: faith beliefs standards morals etc. and the nature of things • Applied research : trying to find answers and solutions to specific problems • reliable systematic • critical rigorous • “real world” = empirical Scientific research: the process • 1. These laws or principles can be tested empirically in the real world to see if they are accurate and reliable. effects. Data collection of “facts” relevant to the problem.

We also hope to come up with general laws. the original creator. Importance of Research in LIS w Practical application w Interpreting research results w Improving service to library users w Personal research Contribution of Research to LIS Description describes events & behaviors Contribution of Research to LIS Improvement interventions that improve student learning or some other outcome Prediction ability to predict future events & behaviors based on past occurrences Explanation involves description. • 2. and applicable to “reality. prediction. We also search for understanding • 2. laws.Scientific research and LIS: why? • 1. We also want them to be accurate. reliable. 3 . and theories about the real world. & improvement Research Traditions: Physical and Biological Sciences • Distinguishing features: • 1. Understanding and explanation Research Tradition in the humanities • Generally focuses on a search for the discovery of “facts” (what actually happened). theories. the best text of a work. Development of general principles. principles that help to understand and deal with our problems • 3. etc.

Sociology. Consensus among researchers • 4. • Some disciplines (e. Publication and critical review of findings and conclusions Research as problem solving • All research is concerned with solving problems but it may be categorized as follows: • 1. A concern with discovery of the “facts” • 2. Research as understanding trends and operations • 3.g.) with combinations of approaches Scientific research: commonalities of all disciplines • 1. Research as description • 2. Voluntary participation • (see Babbie. LIS. A concern with considering rival explanations to what has been observed • 3... Research as explanation Research and Ethics: not an oxymoron • Basic ethical principles of all research: • 1. economics) very focused on theory and principles.g. others (e. chapter 1 and Appendix A for more details) 4 . No harm to subjects • 2.Research tradition in the social and behavioral sciences • Very mixed traditions with combinations of approaches often used by different disciplines in this area. etc.