Academic Librarians’ Conception and Use of Evidence Sources in Practice

Denise Koufogiannakis

Abstract


Objective – The objective of this study was to explore and understand how academic librarians use evidence in their professional decision making. The researcher aimed to gain insights on the relevance of the current EBLIP model to practice, and to understand the possible connections between scientific research and tacit knowledge within the practice of LIS.

Methods – A grounded theory methodology was used, following the approach of Charmaz (2006). Participants were 19 academic librarians in Canada. Data was gathered via online diaries and semi-structured interviews over a six-month period in 2011.

Results – Two broad types of evidence were identified (hard and soft), and are generally used in conjunction with one another. Librarians examine all evidence sources with a critical eye, and try to determine a complete picture before reaching a conclusion. As well, librarians use a variety of proactive and passive approaches to find evidence.

Conclusions – These results provide a strong message that no single evidence source is perfect. Consequently, librarians bring different types of evidence together in order to be as informed as possible before making a decision. Using a combination of evidence sources, depending upon the problem, is the way academic librarians approach decision making.

Keywords


evidence based library and information practice; academic librarians; evidence use

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