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10 FEBRUARY 2013

Inventory of research methods for librarianship and informatics

"This article defines and describes the rich variety of research designs found in librarianship and informatics practice. Familiarity with the range of methods and the ability to make distinctions between those specific methods can enable authors to label their research reports correctly. The author has compiled an inventory of methods from a variety of disciplines, but with attention to the relevant applications of a methodology to the field of librarianship. Each entry in the inventory includes a definition and description for the particular research method. Some entries include references to resource material and examples."

(Jonathan D. Eldredge, 2004, Journal of the Medical Library Association)


2004academic researchanalysisaudit • autobiography • bibliomining • biographycase study • citation analysis • cohort design • comparative study • content analysisdata mining • definition and description • delphi method • descriptive survey • focus group • gap analysis • historyinformaticsinventory • inventory of methods • JMLA • Journal of the Medical Library Association • librarianship • library science • library studies • longitudinal studymeta-analysis • narrative review • participant observation • programme evaluation • randomised controlled trial • research designresearch methodresearch methodsresearch reports • summing up • systematic reviews • unobtrusive observation


Simon Perkins
21 MAY 2011

Effective and evocative research: difference through the form and outcomes of the iterative cycles and the type of feedback that informs the reflective process

"From the differences we have described, it might be assumed that the distinction between effective and evocative research is between the analytical and intuitive. However, it is important to note that, while analysis of the problem and context tends to come first in effective research, as in all research, it is intuition that leads to innovation. And, on the other hand, while evocative research may evolve intuitively through the interests, concerns and cultural preoccupations of the creative practitioner, it is rounded out and resolved by analytical insights.

Because of this combination of the intuitive and analytical, both ends of the spectrum may draw on bodies of theory such as Donald Schön's (1983) theories of reflective practice and principles of tacit knowledge and reflection–in–action, to frame an iterative development process. However, differences can be identified between the form and outcomes of the iterative cycles and the type of feedback that informs the reflective process.

In effective research, an iterative design process may involve an action research model and prototyping (paper prototype, rapid prototype, functional prototype and so on). Each iterative stage is evaluated through user testing by a representative group of end users (through quantitative or qualitative surveys or observations of use, for example). The purpose of this testing is to gauge the artifact's functionality, usability and efficacy. The gathered data informs changes and refinements in each cycle.

On the other hand, an artist might stage a number of preliminary exhibitions, but these are not staged to gather 'data', or to obtain successively closer approximations of a solution to a problem. Instead, they are part of an exploration of unfolding possibilities. Feedback might be sought from respected colleagues, and gathered in an informal setting (in the manner of a peer 'critique'). The purpose of gathering such insights is to allow the artist to reflect upon the project and its evocation and affect and to see their work through the insights of others, which may shed new light on the practice and its possibilities."

(Jillian Hamilton and Luke Jaaniste, 2009)

2). Hamilton, J. and L. Jaaniste (2009). "The Effective and the Evocative: Practice–led Research Approaches Across Art and Design". ACUADS: The Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools, Brisbane, Queensland, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University.



action research model • ACUADS • analysisanalytical processart and designartistic practice • Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools • conceptualisationcontextcreative practitioner • cultural preoccupations • data gatheringDonald Schon • effective research • evocative researchexegesisexhibitionsexploration of unfolding possibilitiesfeedbackfine artfunctional prototype • gathering insights • insightintuitionintuitiveiterative design processiterative developmentJillian Hamilton • Luke Jaaniste • observationpaper prototype • peer critique • postgraduate supervisionpractice-led research • problem analysis • prototypingqualitative methods • qualitative surveys • quantitativereflection-in-actionreflective practicereflective processresearch artefactresearch designtacit knowledgetestingtheory buildingvisual arts


Simon Perkins
28 APRIL 2011

Narrative techniques in medicine: tagging / indexing narratives

"There are a number of ways in which text–based narrative content can be synthesized and analyzed to generate more quantitatively oriented findings. Common approaches involve attaching descriptors like tags (keywords) or indexes (retrieving concepts) or extracting thematic patterns as 'codes' (commonalities). The content author or a researcher can manually code content by looking for recurring ideas or subjects, or use Internet tools to attach tags to narrative content. One system developed by 'Cognitive Edge' applies semi–structured tagging to narrative content to generate 'numerical data with rich context' (Snowden)."

(Eleanor Herriman, p.3–4)

Fig.1 James 's Public Gallery [] 'People broke up into small groups to share personal health care stories. Stephanie Arnet and her daughter, Satwant and Onkar Dhillon and Debbie Miller.'

2). Eleanor Herriman (2008). 'Narrative Techniques in Medicine: Translating Cognitive Sciences into Potent Informatics Instruments', Vol. 3 No. 1 April 2008 Medical Informatics Review, IC Sciences Corp.



analysisannotationclinical medicine • code content • codes • cognitive potency • cognitive profiling • commonalities • Dave Snowden • descriptors • evaluation instruments • evaluation methods • extracting thematic patterns • healthcare • indexes • indices • internet tools • keyword tags • keywords • medical informatics • medicine needs narrative • narrative • narrative as personal expression • narrative as story • narrative content • natural language processingnew technologies • NLP • numerical data with rich context • open-ended questionspersonal narrativesquantitatively oriented findingsrecurring ideas • recurring subjects • researcher • retrieving concepts • semi-structured tagging • storysynthesistaggingtags • text-based narrative content • thematic analysisthematic patterns


Simon Perkins
24 JANUARY 2011

Practice vs praxis: modelling practitioner-based research

"Praxis, for me, involves the critical and inextricable meld of theory and practice. Thus practitioner–based research is concerned with processes for theorising practice ... In moving creatively into our practice we are fundamentally concerned to develop new knowledge, to challenge old beliefs and to speculate on the 'what ifs' of our concepts and processes. For the arts practitioner, this new knowledge is made in the context of and challenge to the history, theory and practices of the relevant field. The research function for developing and extending knowledge is judged on the outcome of the research, which synthesises, extends or analyses the problematics of the discipline. It is important to realise that this creative work resembles pure and applied research in any field. As Richard Dunn says; 'a work of art or design is embedded in or deforms the theory and practice of the discipline' (1994:8)."

(Robyn Anne Stewart, 2003, USQ ePrints)

1). Stewart, Robyn Anne (2003) Practice vs praxis: modelling practitioner–based research. In: 2002 International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) World Congress, 19–24 Aug 2002, New York, USA.


Simon Perkins
17 JANUARY 2010

Developing Analytical and Synthetic Thinking in Technology Education

"One of the most prominent characteristics of modern society is the increasing number of students acquiring technology education. An important question that must be dealt with, regarding this phenomenon relates to the nature of an appropriate technology education. A thorough examination of prevalent trends indicates that cultivating analytical skills constitutes an essential feature of science education, while within the framework of technology education mainly synthetic skills are being cultivated. Analytical thinking deserves little attention in processes of teaching technology, and is not adequately stressed in processes of constructing design skills. Apparently it seems that the different curricula adopted in science and technology education emanates from the inherent differences between research methodologies in science as opposed to design in technology. Whereas analytical thinking is typically related to the scientific process, synthetic thinking manifested in planning, building and developing is an essential part of design processes. However, several stages requiring analytical thinking can be identified in the design process. These stages mainly characterize the initial process and include analyzing the task, the selection of an appropriate model, formalization, etc.

Technology is viewed, within the conceptual framework of our research, as a discipline based on two types of thinking: synthetic and analytical, occurring both in the realm of practice (in the real world) and the realm of theory (using symbolic representations of the real world). The hypothesis examined in this research relates to the desired interactions between the two types of thinking, as well as to the manner of their integration in processes of teaching and learning. We hypothesize that integrating the above mentioned types of thinking might enhance the efficiency of technology instruction."

(Ilja Levin, E. Lieberman)

Levin I, Lieberman E. (2000) 'Developing Analytical and Synthetic Thinking in Technology Education', Proceedings of International Conference on Technology Education, Braunshweig, Germany.

Fig.1 'Evolver' (2009) was designed and executed by a team of 2nd year students from the ALICE Studio at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland



Simon Perkins

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