Plinius

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

PL 8/11: Dismal science

Filed under: 1bib, research — plinius @ 11:37 am

There are more weaknesses than strengths in library and information studies research.

This is the conclusion of Lorie A. Kloda, Denise Koufogiannakis and Katrine Mallan in a recent article in Information research (1/11)

Transferring evidence into practice: what evidence summaries of library and information studies research tell practitioners

The authors base this conclusion on 101 evidence summaries published in the journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Between 2006 and 2008.

More than two-thirds of the studies had weaknesses related to  ‘the suitability of the population and the sampling method‘ (n=80) and ‘the suitability and replicability of the research method‘ (n=76).

Abstract

Introduction

Critical appraisal is a crucial aspect of evidence-based practice. In order to determine whether research is valid, reliable and applicable, the evidence-based practice process advocates that published research be critically appraised. Between 2006 and 2008, the journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice published 101 evidence summaries, critically appraising research in library and information studies. These evidence summaries can be examined in order to determine common strengths and weaknesses of research relevant to library and information studies and identify commonalities in existing evidence summary commentaries.

Method

We undertook a directed qualitative content analysis of the commentary portion of all 101 evidence summaries published in the journal, Evidence Based Library and Information Practice from 2006-2008.

Findings

Evidence summaries reveal more weaknesses than strengths in the library and information studies research. In general, evidence summary writers tend to remark on weaknesses relating to validity and reliability, yet paradoxically point out strengths with respect to research’s applicability to practice.

Conclusions

Further research is required to understand why evidence summary writers note more weaknesses than strengths in library and information studies research and whether this reflects the actual quality of the research in general.

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