Study into the use of applied library and information studies (LIS) research in New Zealand libraries
The purpose of this research project was to determine the perceptions of information professionals in New Zealand regarding applied LIS (Library and Information Studies) research. To achieve this aim, a purposive sample of 130 tertiary and non-profit government libraries / information centres was selected from the New Zealand Contacts in Libraries directory. The chief librarians or library managers from these institutions were invited to offer their opinions using a brief questionnaire that included Likert and Verbal Frequency scales (Appendix A). Alternatively, the questionnaire could be distributed to another information professional from the organisation. Practitioners' reasons for and against consulting research, their tendency towards conducting it themselves and encouraging others in their employ to produce it, and ways by which the relationship between LIS research and practice might be improved were assessed using the survey instrument. The amount of research consultation undertaken by survey participants was analysed according to the following variables: * Highest library / information qualification, whether it contained a research methods / project component, and how recently it was completed; * Major subject area (other than library / information studies) of tertiary-level study; * Experience in current position; * Level of management responsibility; * Specialty area of responsibility; * Library / information centre size; * Organisational context of the library / information centre; * Participation in conferences / professional meetings. The study found that the amount of research consultation by information professionals comprising the sample was low, and levels of research production and encouragement for employees to conduct research were even lower. Participants most often consult the research to stay current with trends and developments in the field of LIS, and to support workplace activities such as decision-making, problem-solving, planning and evaluation. The research is most often not consulted due to time constraints. Despite small data sets that necessitated some caution in the interpretation of results, associational relationships were apparent between the amount of research consultation and all of the participant variables listed above, with one exception (level of management responsibility). Information professionals responding to this study also indicated that the most effective strategy for improving the current relationship between the LIS research and practice communities is the encouragement of research productions that include practical guidelines for the application of results in a workplace context.