Basic Research Methods for Librarians – 4th Edition

Macgregor, George (2006) Basic Research Methods for Librarians – 4th Edition. [Review] (

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Research conducted in the LIS domain has historically received bad press and can often make for some pretty grim reading. Research has been described as “non-cumulative, fragmentary, generally weak and relentlessly oriented to immediate practice” (p.1). Quite simply, research within the LIS discipline is still – relative to other disciplines - quite infantile and has yet to develop the goals, objectives and distinctive methodologies that could be said to characterise sociology, economics or linguistics, for example. Much of this retarded development could be said to lie squarely at the doorstep of academic institutions. As the authors of Basic research methods for librarians note, LIS education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels instils in students the sure foundation of professional training, but often entirely evades the relevance of academic techniques. Few students therefore leave university or college LIS courses having acquired the skills or knowledge necessary to rigorously pursue investigative research or to interpret results within a practitioner environment. Whilst Powell and Connaway are keen to remind us that the quality of recent library research shows improvements with regard to its methodological rigor, sophistication and analysis, there still exists a much needed requirement to raise the bar and to further develop the benchmark against which LIS research is currently measured.