Writing a Research Article
Have you ever thought about doing research in a particular area of librarianship? It seems a bit daunting, a bit overwhelming. There are so many variables to consider. What do I want to research? Is there any published literature on this topic? Do I want to collaborate with colleagues? How will I design the study? How will I analyze the study data? Where will I publish the results?
As someone who loves structure and lists, here are some helpful tips to consider when designing and submitting a research article for publication:
- Select a topic that interests you, a topic related to your field of librarianship (e.g. technology, instruction, reference, cataloging, leadership).
- Consider collaborating with colleagues. They can bring insight and experience, especially to the novice researcher. But choose your team members carefully. Select colleagues with whom you have worked on a number of projects.
- Perform a literature search. This will not only identify the published information but will also help you detect gaps in the literature.
- Construct a hypothesis. Be specific.
- Decide where you would like to publish the results. If you’re unsure where to publish, ask colleagues about the most appropriate peer reviewed journals. Don’t forget to review journals impact factors.
- Work with a statistician. The statistician will review your hypothesis, study design, methodology, results, and conclusions. Statisticians are invaluable members of the research team.
- Design your study. The study can be qualitative in nature or quantitative. Review the different kinds of study designs and data collection methodologies. If you will be collecting data from individuals then you must contact your organizations institutional review board.
- Implement the study.
- Analyze the data. The statistician will identify statistically significant findings from the study.
- Write the article.
- Review the article.
- Submit the article for publication.
- Revise the article per reviewers’ recommendations. If your article is rejected consider submitting it to another journal.
While the process may seem formidable its rewards are great. As my grandmother used to say, “the hardest part is getting started.”