Information technology and the humanities scholar : documenting digital research practices

Given, Lisa M. and Willson, Rebekah (2018) Information technology and the humanities scholar : documenting digital research practices. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 69 (6). pp. 807-819. ISSN 2330-1643 (

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Digital tools offer new affordances and methodologies to humanities scholars’ research. This paper used a constructivist grounded theory approach to examine humanities scholars’ research practices, including their use of a wide range of resources and digital technologies. Using in-depth, , several themes emerged from the research relating to the role of technology in shaping humanities scholars’ research practices. The themes include: 1) humanities scholars’ research approaches and technology tools; 2) the humanities scholar as tool developer; 3) the role of data preparation as a meta-level research practice; 4) data visualization versus numeric outputs – one size does not fit all; 5) the importance of flexibility and agency; 6) technology tools in support of the researcher as writer; and 7) working alone/working together – technology tools and collaborative practice. The heterogeneous nature of humanities scholars’ research practices are explored and the resulting implications for digital tool design. Two new research practices – tool development and data preparation – are proposed. The diverse digital technologies humanities scholars use support the traditional ways of working within their discipline, as well as creating potential for new scholarly practices.