LIS research

Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects

The broad aim of this project was to investigate the extent to which funded research projects in the domain of library and information science (LIS) influence practice in the UK. It focused particularly on identifying factors that increase or hinder the impact of research findings on those who deliver library and information services.

The project findings derive from a review of the LIS literature on impact, a practitioner poll, case studies of five LIS research projects identified as “impactful”, three sector-specific focus groups and a validation survey. The analysis of the empirical data largely confirms the findings from the literature review: that there is a disconnect between LIS research and the practitioner community; the level of impact a project enjoys depends on a number of factors, most importantly how it is planned and conceived, the extent to which practitioners are involved in its execution, and how its findings are reported. Organisational factors that support a receptive target audience for research output are also of significance to the question of impact.

The project‘s findings have generated new insights related to the roles of research leadership and sponsorship, and means of involving practitioners in research projects. In particular, findings

  • highlight a preference greater than has been previously reported, for face-to-face channels for the dissemination of research results; and
  • reveal for the first time the role of social media in raising awareness of research.

The eleven detailed project recommendations relate to strategies to ensure that:

  • LIS research undertaken has high level support;
  • the execution of LIS research involves practitioners;
  • dissemination plans for LIS research take into account practitioner preferences for consuming research output;
  • LIS research output is accessible to the target audience;
  • practitioners are given support to engage with research by their employers and professional bodies, drawing on good practice within the broad community of librarians and information scientists.

The full report and recommendations can be found below.

RiLIES report