Practical Tips for Facilitating Research

Jane Mansfield (Department of Academic Support Services, University of York, York, UK)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 5 June 2017



Mansfield, J. (2017), "Practical Tips for Facilitating Research", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 615-616.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

This book is very useful for those setting out in research support roles, but it is also of interest to those wanting to develop their research support services. This is a thoughtful and well-planned resource, with many examples of good practice from other libraries. Most of the sections have “best for” tips and “examples from practice”, as well as a “to think about” feature, which highlights any potential pitfalls and issues that may need further thought. Moira Bent has published other books with Facet, co-authored SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Information Literacy, and her experience helps inform this volume.

I was very interested to hear about other universities’ practices. I think this book is one of the best that I have read in this area and there will be snippets of information that most readers will learn from. The structure works well and is flexible, allowing for more examples, more tips or more “to think about” issues as appropriate. The book adapts to its subject matter and its sources rather than sticking to a rigid format for each section.

I read it section by section, but it is a book which could be dipped into. There are eight subject sections along with an introduction and summary. A slight negative point about the book is that the chapter headings and subsections sometimes do not reflect the topics as well as they might: “Places and Spaces” for instance, covers a lot of promotions/marketing work which is not named and is not indexed either, but that is a quibble. The other sections cover: the Research environment; Strategies, such as collaborations and RDM support; Library staff roles, including the librarian as potential researcher; Collections, which looks at ways of promoting and exploiting resources; Interventions in the Research Lifecycle, which covers open access, systematic reviews, writing support and bibliometrics; and a section on Teaching mentions “just-in-time” teaching and the use of recordings and bite-sized sessions, such as Leicester University’s Elevenses, which are planned to fit into a coffee-break. The final section on Information Literacy discusses workshops. There are gems of ideas along the way, including looking at ways that the library can generate income, the use of secret shoppers and the value of involving employers in teaching.

This book is well worth buying as a team resource for librarians who work with researchers or for those planning to expand into this area. It is full of interesting insights into the practices of other universities and provides good tips.

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