Focussing on DREaMers

LIS DREaM banner photoshop again V2

I’m still enjoying working on the project studying the impact of the DREaM project in 2011-12. You can read more about this on the Library and Information Science Research Coalition website. In short DREaM comprised the delivery of a launch conference, three workshops and a closing conference – and what looks like a huge amount of work by organisers and participants.

The workshops included sessions on techniques likely to be useful to LIS researchers and practitioners. (I’m sure that many of them would be useful to just about any researcher.)

So these techniques are among the subjects of our survey of the participants. (I’ll call them DREaMers from now on.) We’re starting to understand how the sessions have contributed to DREaMers’ research work. Some sessions have had direct impact, while others have had more subliminal or awareness-raising effects – and of course the effects vary from person to person. We’ll understand more when we do a full analysis of the responses.

Another interesting topic is the impacts of DREaMers’ research publications. We’re interested in whether their publications have informed policies and whether they have contributed to the LIS research agenda.

Naturally, we’re also enquiring about DREaMer’s actual research – not just what they have done, although of course that will be of extreme interest. But we’re also interested in DREaMers’ roles in research projects, the channels through which they have presented research (conferences, journals, social media, etc) and their roles in research-funding bids. As I’m learning for myself, you don’t get to do research unless it’s funded, and funding applications are a very hard slog.

The results I’m most looking forward to are the social networking results. I have to admit that at least part of the appeal is using software to draw pretty pictures. So far I’ve used NodeXL, but for full compatibility with SNA work done during DREaM, I may need to step up to UCInet. (Shame there’s no Mac version – I’m very much a fanboi. [Please note that I’m a Mac fanboi, not an Apple fanboi – and please ask if you don’t know the difference between these.]) Alongside this quantitative work, we’re investigating whether and how DREaMers have continued to network with each other, and any effects networking with each other may have had on their careers.

Allied to this, we’re running a focus group which should give us data to contextualise and amplify the survey data. So there will be many data to herd, slide and dice over the next couple of weeks. And then, in this project’s final week, I’ll be drafting a journal paper, a publication for a practitioner outlet, and a report for our funders. My keyboards are going to hate me, and donations of ice-cold Irn Bru will be the only way to placate me.


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