Librarians as researchers

Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.

Zora Neale Hurston

Part of working to support researchers is an understanding of the research process. This can be developed in a number of ways but one possible route is by undertaking a research project of your own. Although this can seem scary if you’ve never done it before, the resources below will help guide you through the process of planning, carrying out and sharing the results of a project.


The Sherlock Librarian: Investigating the Workplace – carrying out research in the workplace is one way for library staff to better understand the research community. This presentation guides librarians through a simple plan to develop a mini-research project to suit their own circumstances.

Librarians as Researchers: Methods, Lessons and Trends – this presentation, given at a CILIP Kent event, looks at the different ways in which library staff can get involved in their own research projects.

Researching in the Workplace – this presentation, given at LISDIS 2016, guides librarians through the basic steps to develop and deliver a simple research project in their workplace.

Reflective Practice Workshop

The ability to reflect on our service, work and own personal development is a valuable tool for undertaking research. It helps us to form questions and ideas which we can turn into actionable projects.

Reflective Practice Workshop – an interactive workshop outlining the reasons and ways we reflect, some of the most common models and how we can turn this into a piece of reflective writing.

Reflective Practice Workbook – participant workbook to accompany the workshop.

Conference with Confidence

This short series of presentations aimed to help library staff develop the critical skills they need for conference season: reflecting on a problem, doing some research and presenting the results.

Reflective Practice Workshop – being a reflective practitioner is something which doesn’t come naturally to all of us but it is a surprisingly easy skill to develop. As well as helping you to think critically about your own personal development, undertaking reflection can help library staff to improve their service and deal with user feedback in a constructive way. Delivered as part of our Conference with Confidence series, this interactive workshop will help you to understand the theory of reflective practice, how to overcome barriers to integrate it into your everyday role and offer a chance to practice reflective writing. All skills that come in handy when preparing those conference abstracts… It is also useful if you are thinking of undertaking any level of professional qualification such as CILIP Chartership or Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

Doing Workplace Research – problem solving is a daily part of working in a library, whether it is for our users or ourselves. Turning these problems into research projects is the next step but one that many of us find difficult to take. Delivered as part of our Conference with Confidence series, this workshop will help you think about the everyday innovations in your library and how these can be turned into research projects for discussion at future events. We will look at the pros and cons of undertaking research in your workplace, how it can help to generate solutions to problems, support a case for resources or just find out more about your library. This workshop is suitable for those interested in undertaking research projects, complete novices or those wanting to know more about the possibilities of workplace research. Who knows where is might lead?

Presentation Skills Refresh – one thing that puts many people off speaking at conferences is a perceived lack of presentation skills. Although this is one way to undertake public speaking, presentation skills are a much wider part of the information profession and can encompass anything from leading a tour to working at an enquiry point. Delivered as part of the Conference with Confidence series, this workshop will take you through the process of creating and delivering a presentation, offer tips on design, outline techniques to deal with nerves and help you to feel more confident in communicating with others.