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Research Methods in Information
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Table of Contents

PART 1: STARTING THE RESEARCH PROCESS
1. Major research paradigms

  • Introduction
  • Positivist research
  • Postpositivism and mixed methods research (MMR)
  • Interpretivist research
  • Qualitative or quantitative methodology?
  • Qualitative research design
  • Quantitative research design
  • Mixed methods research
  • 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. Research Data Management - Julie McLeod, Sue Childs and Elizabeth Lomas
  • Introduction - research data and its management challenges
  • Why is research data management important?
  • The research process, data lifecycles and research data management
  • How do I manage my research data?
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Websites referred to in this chapter
  • Suggested further reading
7. Ethics in research
  • Introduction
  • Gaining access to the field
  • Informed consent
  • Anonymity or confidentiality?
  • Protecting participants
  • Ethics online
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
8. Case studies
  • Introduction
  • Phases in case study research
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
9. Surveys
  • Introduction
  • Descriptive surveys
  • Explanatory surveys
  • The survey process
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
10. Experimental research
  • Introduction
  • The nature of causality
  • The true experiment
  • Quasi-experimental design: the 'effects study'
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
11. Usability testing
  • Introduction
  • Quasi-experimental usability studies
  • Cognitive walkthroughs
  • Heuristic evaluation
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
12. Ethnography
  • Introduction
  • Components of ethnographic study
  • Virtual ethnography - 'netnography'
  • Ethics in ethnography
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
13. 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
14. Action research
  • Introduction
  • The action research cycle
  • Trustworthiness in action research
  • Action research as reflective practice
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
15. Historical research
  • Introduction
  • The research process
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
16. Grounded theory: method or analysis?
  • Introduction
  • Defining grounded theory
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
PART 3: DATA COLLECTION TECHNIQUES
17. Interviews
  • Introduction
  • What is the purpose of an interview?
  • The seven stages of the interview process
  • Online interviewing
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
18. Questionnaires
  • Introduction
  • Designing questionnaires
  • Developing questions
  • Scale items
  • Forms of questionnaire
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
19. Observation
  • Introduction
  • The role of the observer
  • Recording what you see; going in with signposts
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
20. Diaries
  • Introduction
  • The purpose of diaries in research
  • Participant diaries
  • The researcher's log
  • Structure and recording
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
21. Focus groups
  • Introduction
  • Purpose of a focus group
  • Organizing a focus group
  • Online focus groups
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
22. Analysis of existing, externally created material - Andrew K. Shenton
  • Introduction
  • The different supporting roles of documents
  • LIS research principally based on documents
  • Citation analysis
  • Logs associated with computer software and the use of ICT
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
PART 4: DATA ANALYSIS AND RESEARCH PRESENTATION
23. Qualitative analysis
  • Introduction
  • Phenomenological strategies
  • Ethnographic methods
  • Narrative and discourse analysis
  • Constant comparative analysis
  • Memo writing
  • Presenting qualitative findings
  • Software for qualitative analysis
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
24. Quantitative analysis
  • Introduction
  • Levels of measurement
  • Frequency distribution
  • Cross-tabulation
  • Measures of central tendency
  • Measures of dispersion
  • Correlation
  • Displaying data
  • Testing for statistical significance
  • Software for quantitative analysis
  • Summary
  • Practical exercise
  • Suggested further reading
25. 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

About the Author

Dr Alison Jane Pickard is Head of Information and Communication Management and Director of Quality and Student Experience in the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Northumbria, where she is also Programme Leader for the new Professional Doctorate in Information Sciences. She teaches Research Methods in Information and Communication Management, Information Sciences, as well as other subject areas, and has project managed a number of JISC and AHRB research projects.

Reviews

About the last edition: 'Finally, I have found what I was looking for, since I started working with research students! A book that makes it clear - I find her answers professional, knowledgeable, and useful for doing actual research - this book should be read by all doctoral students in LIS who have embarked on their first big research project. I would also propose it as a textbook for research methods courses at Master's level.' INFORMATION RESEARCH 'sensibly and logically written and - highly useful for both potential and practising researchers - both students and professionals. This book will be of practical value to LIS students and to those studying archives and records management as well as to beginning research in practice. One of Pickard's aims in writing the book was to share the joy of research - she conveys these aspects extremely well and I finished this book excitedly anticipating my next research adventure.' JOUNAL OF LIBRARIANSHIP AND INFORMATION SCIENCE

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