top of page

Understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups

Competency L

One of the major roles of librarians is to locate quality information for the library’s clientele. In many library situations, librarians are asked to assist patrons with research on advanced topics. This can happen in public library settings, with patrons asking for information about medical conditions, family histories and governmental information. In academic and special libraries, librarians may be asked to assist with research in advanced topics that support the research goals of faculty, or to gather detailed information for a company project. Therefore librarians must be able to evaluate reference materials to determine whether the information they provide is reliable, accurate, and appropriate for the user group being served. Since they are often doing the research for their clientele, they must be able to do research, and gather and present the information in a way that is useful for their patron.

Research is defined as “to make an extensive investigation into: to research a matter thoroughly” ( It is part of the librarian’s role to be familiar with the tools available to find information, so they are an invaluable resource when doing extensive investigation into a topic.

Research methods
There are many different research methods that people may be using when investigating a topic, depending on the type of research being done. Some is more scientific, requiring gathering data from tests or experiments, while other types of research are more general, gathering information about the state of the field and building a thesis based on the found information. Some research methods that are used in the Library Science field are listed below. This is just a short sampling, as the number of possible research methods one could use is extensive.

  1. Causal Reseach

  2. Content analysis

  3. Descriptive Research

  4. Discourse analysis

  5. Evaluation research

  6. Relational Research

  7. Scientific Method


However all of them require that there is an understanding of the topic at hand. It requires knowledge of what is already in the literature, formulating a thesis or hypothesis, finding supporting evidence and coming to a conclusion. Once the patron has established the question they want answered through their research, the librarian can point them to the various databases and reference sources that will aid them in their research goals.

Research Findings
Librarians, when selecting materials for the library, evaluate the materials for different purposes and are familiar with what sources are suitable for different kinds of research needs. They can assist the patron in using sources where they are likely to find reliable materials. Once materials are found, librarians can assist the patron in determining which sources are reliable and which are not.

Retrieve, evaluate and synthesize literature
Often, in order to assist patrons in their research needs, librarians create tools they can use to quickly direct users to sources that have been established as reliable. Some of these tools include pathfinders, annotated bibliographies and finding aides. Pathfinders are intended to lead patrons to materials to begin the research process. Annotated bibliographies provide a little more information in terms of intended audience, the scope of the work, and the important themes. Other finding aides that assist users in locating materials in the library can also serve as a reference tool, as they can be focused on particular collections in the library that address focused research needs.


Evaluation of Dance on Camera: A guide to dance films and videos – LIBR 220 - Spring 2006
In this assignment for LIBR 220, Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines (Focus on Visual and Performing Arts), I was asked to evaluate the title Dance on camera: A guide to dance films and videos for use as a reference source. Here I document the source of the material, including author and publisher, to determine if they are reputable, as well as the scope of the material covered by the source to see whether it is comprehensive and how often it is updated. I also evaluate the book in terms of what kind of audience might find this useful. This assignment demonstrates an ability to evaluate material for a specified audience.

Review of Art Documentation - LIBR 200 - Fall 2004
For LIBR 200, Information and Society with Ziming Liu, I was asked to review a journal for a Library and Information Science audience. This review of Art Documentation, the official bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, outlines the audience being served, topics covered, the kinds of professionals who author articiles for the journal, how articles are submitted and evaluated, and what other kinds of information is provided for the intended audience.

Contemporary Artists’ Books: A Pathfinder - LIBR 210 - Summer 2005
This pathfinder was developed for LIBR 210, the Reference & Information Services class. Its intent was to create a guide to core reference materials for an area of study, in this case, artists' books. It is intended to introduce college students and those interested in contemporary art and alternative forms of art to modern artists’ books and also to introduce students who are taking courses in book arts and art history to scholarly sources about this area of art. This information is compiled into this pathfinder in order to serve the research needs of the community being served, in this case a small local liberal arts college.

Annotated Bibliography: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - LIBR 220 - Spring 2006
This annotated bibliography was created for LIBR 220, Resources and Information Services in Professions and Disciplines (Focus on Visual and Performing Arts). Students were instructed to choose a research topic within the scope of the course, which included popular culture, so I created this bibliography on materials on the television program Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The bibliography brings together scholarly materials for those who are doing research on the television program, and presents an evaluation of the value of each source presented, as well as a statement of the materials' intended audience.


research. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved September 30, 2007, from website:

bottom of page