Institute for Research Design in Librarianship

The Institute for Research Design in Librarianship supports academic and other research librarians in their quest to learn more about the field of librarianship through original studies. A partnership between the San José State University School of Information, Loyola Marymount University’s William H. Hannon Library, and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, IRDL aims to enrich the information profession by enhancing the skills of novice researchers.

This professional development program is funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which announced a three-year grant in 2013, and renewed funding for an additional three years beginning in 2016.

The IRDL program annually brings together 20 academic and research librarians who are excited about conducting an original research project but are looking for supplementary training and support. Training takes place at an intensive summer workshop, where participants learn about social science research methods, design their own research projects and develop viable proposals. In the academic year following the workshop, IRDL instructors mentor participants as they carry out research at their home libraries.

The SJSU iSchool’s Dr. Lili Luo and Dr. Michael Stephens have been instrumental to the program from its beginning, serving as curriculum developers and lead instructors. Luo, who teaches INFO 285: Research Methods in the iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science degree program, is continuing to refine the IRDL curriculum and lead workshops during the second round of grant funding. Each year, “We are able to improve the curriculum and the institute experience based on feedback from previous years,” said Luo. “I feel proud to be part of the team that helps librarians enhance their knowledge and skills in conducting quality research.”

A number of iSchool alumni have been part of past IRDL cohorts. Carolyn Schubert, ’09 MLIS, a health sciences and nursing librarian at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a member of the second IRDL cohort, developed a project on assessing information use in clinical education. “As both a researcher and a practitioner, I [found] the community of similarly inspired researcher-practitioners the most valuable element of this experience,” said Schubert. “Everyone was so motivated to conduct original research and improve the profession.”

For more information about IRDL and to learn how to apply for the program, visit the IRDL website.

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