Research Skills are a key area of professional expertise in CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health, the ability of librarians to use research techniques and knowledge of information sources to support personal research projects.
The Research Toolkit is intended as a starting point for librarians in the health sector wishing to undertake a research project, from a small-scale local study through to larger more formal projects.
Before you get started you need to consider whether your project is a research project, or if it’s a service evaluation or audit. Research, evaluation and audit projects all start with a question, though there are some key differences. For example:
- A research project aims to systematic investigate and study a library service, establish facts and reach new conclusions.
- An evaluation focuses on the effectiveness of the library service.
- An audit reviews a library services, perhaps using a predefined audit tool, to enable improvements to be made.
The following resources may help you decide whether your project is a research project:
- Health Research Authority. (2017). Defining research table: A grid table outlining the key features of research, service evaluation, audit, and usual practice.
- Medical Research Council, & NHS Health Research Authority. (2020). Is my study research? This decision making tool presents a series of yes and no questions to help you decide whether or not your study is research.
The Research Toolkit is based on a research flowchart originally developed by members of the now defunct HEALER Network. The Research Toolkit highlighting issues to consider and signposting resources to help you get started in research in ten manageable steps. The ten steps are:
Step 1: Turn Your Idea Into a Research Question
Step 2: Reviewing the Literature
Step 3: Designing Your Study
Step 4: Funding Your Research
Step 5: Writing Your Research Proposal
Step 6: Obtaining Ethical & Trust Approval
Step 7: Collecting & Collating Your Data
Step 8: Analysing & Interpreting Your Data
Step 9: Writing Up & Disseminating Your Findings
Step 10: Putting Your Findings Into Practice
Now you’ve confirmed you’re undertaking a research project your next step is to turn your idea into a research question (Step 1).