From practice to research at Flinders University Library: sustaining a research culture
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to describe the mechanisms used by Flinders University Library to sustain a culture of research. Flinders University Library has been supporting its librarians to undertake research projects using a formal support group mechanism, known as the Research Working Group (RWG), sanctioned and resourced by library executive since 2010. This established a culture of practitioner-based research in the library, with the librarians developing a greater understanding of both the theory and practice of qualitative and quantitative methods by undertaking their own research projects. However, sustaining a research this culture brings new challenges which this paper now explores. Design/methodology/approach This case study describes the methods used at Flinders University Library in sustaining a culture of practitioner-research. This arose from a review of the formal support structure, as well as a previous study that surveyed staff responses to the RWG. Findings As academic libraries face ongoing challenges and engage more broadly with research support, librarians need experiential knowledge of research. In the case of Flinders University Library, the author has found that, in seeking to sustain a research culture, the author has needed to adapt the support mechanisms, including a greater emphasis on peer support, a different model of resourcing and more inclusivity for all staff to engage with research work. Research limitations/implications This paper is limited by its scope as a single-institution case study; however, there are opportunities for other academic libraries to learn from this experience. Originality/value Establishing a culture of practice-based research is not an easy undertaking, requiring dedication from all parties whether management, practitioner-researchers or mentors. While there are many examples in the literature of case studies examining the establishment of research culture, few if any take the next steps to explore how to maintain it. This paper seeks to fill that gap.
Copyright © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited.
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