Faculty Member and Alumnus Co-Author Award-Winning Methodology Paper


Associate Professor Dr. Lili Luo and Master of Library and Information Science degree program alumnus John Jackson (2011) are recipients of the 2016 ProQuest-sponsored competition for the best methodology paper.

Each year, the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) holds a ProQuest-sponsored competition for the best methodology paper, and San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) Associate Professor Dr. Lili Luo and Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree program alumnus John Jackson are recipients of the 2016 award for a paper they co-wrote with Allison Benedetti of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library. The winning paper, “Vignettes: Implications for LIS Research” introduces the strengths and implications of using vignettes, or stories about hypothetical people and situations, in library and information science (LIS) studies.

According to Luo (pictured left at the ALISE award presentation), the paper grew out of the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL), a partnership between the SJSU iSchool, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) William H. Hannon Library, and the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC). IRDL consists of an intensive summer workshop and a year of professional and peer mentoring which assist new academic and research librarians in designing and conducting research projects. Luo is an IRDL instructor, and both Jackson and Benedetti were in the first IRDL cohort in June 2014.

Jackson, who is the outreach and communications librarian at the William H. Hannon Library at LMU, stated that the experience of collaborating with Luo and Benedetti was “truly a delight” and noted that the three authors share a passion for rigorous research. “I think all three of us would call ourselves ‘methods geeks,’” he said.

Similarly, Luo stated, “It’s my great pleasure to have worked with two librarian researchers who are passionate about conducting research to enhance practice and exploring new research methods to expand the horizon of LIS research. I feel particularly proud that one of my coauthors, John Jackson, is an alumnus of our school.”

The winning paper asserts that vignettes have not yet been used very widely in LIS research, but that they can be valuable research tools that are “worthy of exploration and consideration.” Jackson hopes that the paper will “[encourage] other LIS professionals to explore the vignette methodology” and Luo also looks forward to the paper “[stimulating] discussions about methodological explorations.” (John Jackson, pictured right, is a 2011 alumnus of the MLIS program at the SJSU iSchool.)

To be eligible for the ALISE/ProQuest Methodology Paper Competition, papers must describe a research method or technique and discuss its implications. The award comes with a $500 honorarium, and each year the award winners present a summary of their papers at the ALISE annual conference.

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