Research Methods in Library and Information Science, 6th Edition

Published © 2017 by Libraries Unlimited


  • Lynn Silipigni Connaway


    Lynn Silipigni Connaway, PhD, is the director of library trends and user research at OCLC Research. She leads user studies and the digital visitors and residents project at OCLC Research. She was the chair of the ALA ACRL Value of Academic Libraries Committee and is an international and national speaker on how individuals get their information and engage with technology and the assessment and development of user-centered library services. Connaway held the Chair of Excellence position at the Departmento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, was a visiting researcher in the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, and was a visiting scholar at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, Denmark. She has received research funding from the IMLS in the US and Jisc and the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the UK. Dr. Connaway is the co-author of the 4th and 5th editions of Basic Research Methods for Librarians and has authored numerous other publications.

  • Marie L. Radford


    Marie L. Radford, PhD, is chair and professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University, NJ. An award-winning author, her latest books are Conducting the Reference Interview, 3rd Ed. (with Catherine Sheldrick Ross and Kirsti Nilsen, 2019, ALA Editions), Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters (with Gary Radford, 2017, ALA Editions) and Research Methods in Library and Information Science, 6th ed. (with Lynn Silipigni Connaway, 2017, Libraries Unlimited). Her research areas focus on qualitative research, interpersonal communication within virtual and traditional library contexts, and postmodern approaches to media stereotypes of librarians/libraries. Her current research projects examine scholarly identity work in social networking sites (such as ResearchGate and, information practices surrounding use of smart speakers, and microaggressive behavior in library encounters. She gives frequent keynote speeches and presentations at national and international library conferences and publishes extensively in prestigious LIS journals. She is co-PI of the “Seeking Synchronicity” (with Lynn Silipigni Connaway) and “Cyber Synergy” (with Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Chirag Shah) grant projects funded by IMLS, Rutgers, and OCLC. She received the 2010 ALA/RUSA Mudge Award for distinguished contributions to reference.


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What's New in this Edition?

  • Preface

    We are really excited about the sixth edition of this research methods book, now titled Research Methods in Library and Information Science. We have changed the title not only to better reflect the revised content of this edition but also to represent the expertise and interests of the voice of the new coauthor, Marie L. Radford. We owe a debt of gratitude to Ronald Powell for his vision as sole author of the first edition of this book, published in 1985, and subsequent updating in the second and third editions. He invited Lynn Silipigni Connaway to be his coauthor beginning with the fourth edition in 2004. Ron and Lynn collaborated on the fourth and fifth editions. Ron announced that he was stepping down for revision of the sixth edition, and Marie came on board.

    Previous editions of this book have had a strong focus on quantitative methods. Our collaboration on two major grant projects, beginning in 2005, has involved a blend of qualitative and quantitative research. We have had positive experiences in our collaboration during the past ten years and have been very productive in contributing to both the scholarly and professional literature. Our partnership provides a balanced view of research that embraces the entire spectrum of methods available in library and information science (LIS). In addition, we are excited to share our expertise and experiences in research design, data collection, analysis, the writing process, and dissemination of findings gained during our grant-funded collaborations. We have designed this edition to feature more examples selected from research conducted by the authors and other LIS scholars.

    Approximately one-third of the content of this edition is new. These changes include all original content in chapters 7 and 10, which are devoted to qualitative research methods and analysis. All the other chapters have been revised, including updates to the cited references, with an added emphasis on recent citations. Furthermore, this edition now provides practical strategies on topics such as the writing process, overcoming writer’s block, time management, and strategies for collaboration. Discussions of technology enhancements for research have been updated, including a section on computer-assisted software for qualitative data analysis. Also new to this edition are a series of text boxes and sidebars throughout the book, placed as appropriate to chapter topics. These include the following:

    Voices of the Experts: researchers’ advice on particular methods, specifically what was most important or most valuable to them when using these methods.

    Questions from LIS doctoral students, new faculty, and library professionals about research methods, answered by either the authors or other discipline-specific experts.

    Publish or Perish: expert research tips and strategies for increasing productivity.

    Developing a Proposal: content and questions to be answered in theses, dissertations, or research projects.

    Editors’ Advice: How to get work published in LIS journals and books.

    Grant-writing advice from experts and staff from granting agencies for writing more effective proposals.

    Specifically designed for LIS master’s and doctoral students, new LIS faculty, and professional librarians, this text explains both quantitative and qualitative research methods, with an emphasis on the power of their integration for a mixed method research design. It provides instruction and guidance to LIS scholars, professionals, and students who want and need to conduct research and publish their work. The inclusion of the principles, data collection techniques, and analyses of quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as discussion of the advantages and limitations of each method and updated bibliographies, provides a broad introduction to research design. The discussion of the scientific method, sampling, validity, reliability, and ethical concerns, along with experimental research design, ethnographic methods, and usability testing, offers a well-rounded overview of these research methods and design. Not only will LIS students, scholars, and professionals consult the text for instruction on conducting research using this array of tools but they also will use it for guidance in critically reading and evaluating research publications, proposals, and reports. This text cannot be all-inclusive, but it provides a broad view of the LIS research environment, with references to more in-depth works on specific data collection and analysis methods.

    The authors would like to thank those colleagues who shared their expertise in writing short essays, text boxes and sidebars, and answers to questions from novice researchers. We also are indebted to Vanessa Kitzie and Stephanie Mikitish, doctoral candidates, and Matthew Bridgeman, MLIS student, all from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Erin Hood of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. for their assistance in the preparation of this revised edition. We appreciate the efforts of Paula Julien and Kem Lang at the OCLC library in providing quick access to requested materials, which greatly helped us to stay on target for deadlines. We also want to thank Blanche Woolls, Emma Bailey, and the staff at Libraries Unlimited, a subsidiary of ABC-CLIO, for their editorial and production assistance.

    We are appreciative of our spouses, Jim and Gary, for their understanding of the time required to write this book. Their unconditional love, good humor, and vocal encouragement helped greatly to make this book a reality.

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