Research Methods for Information Research

David Streatfield of IMA offers some thoughts on research methods and related issues, focused mainly on work done with information services and libraries.

(These thoughts are based on his regular column published in Information Research Watch International.) They are grouped into eight main sections:

  1. Why look at research methods?
  2. Asking questions (and getting research answers)
    1. Research interviews: forms of interview
    2. Research interviews: the five main skills
    3. Research interviews: designing an interview schedule
    4. Research interviews: testing the interview schedule
    5. Research interviews: choosing who to talk to
    6. Research interviews: conducting the interview
    7. Research interviews: breadth versus depth
    8. Questionnaires: designing research questionnaires
    9. Questionnaires: making questions interesting
    10. Questionnaires: why they don’t work
  3. Some types of interview:
    1. The focus group: getting the right people
    2. The focus group: getting the right structure
    3. The focus group: some activities
    4. The telephone interview
    5. The telephone interview: some ground rules
    6. The telephone interview: constraints
    7. Critical incident interviews
    8. Forecasting with questionnaires
    9. e-questionnaires
  4. Observation (Systematic observation as a research method)
    1. Peer observation
    2. Accompanied visits
    3. Work shadowing
    4. Structured observation
  5. Other methods
    1. Beyond interviews and focus groups
    2. Changing your approach
    3. Drawing inferences: analysing bibliographies
    4. Collecting and organising stories
    5. Constructing case studies
  6. Practitioners as researchers
    1. The manager as researcher
    2. Capturing the process
    3. Children as researchers
  7. Beyond research methods
    1. Active research dissemination
    2. Interpreting research findings
    3. Finding out what methods were used
    4. Listening to the research evidence
    5. Citing earlier research literature
    6. Systematic literature reviews
    7. Towards evidence-based library and information work?
    8. Evidence-based working or methodological fundamentalism?
    9. Finding out about research methods
    10. Using concept maps in research
    11. Researchers, research information and research methods
  8. Some methodological matters
    1. Grounded theory
    2. Illuminative evaluation
    3. Socially constructed research methods
    4. Beyond the research interview

An overview of research methodologies — Powerpoint presentation with oral commentary — provided by IMA Senior Associate Sharon Markless: