Research skills are a key area of professional expertise in CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health.
They are defined as “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 to larger more formal projects.
Before you get started you need to consider whether your project is a research project, a service evaluation or audit.
- A research project aims to systematically investigate and study a library service, establish facts and reach new conclusions.
- An evaluation focuses on the effectiveness of a library service.
- An audit reviews a library’s service or 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 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? – decision making tool 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 defunct HEALER Network. It highlights issues to consider and resources to help you get started in research. Its 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
Once you’ve confirmed you’re undertaking a research project, go to Step 1.