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Evaluating a threefold intervention framework for assisting researchers in literature review and manuscript preparatory tasks

Aravind Sesagiri Raamkumar (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Schubert Foo (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Natalie Pang (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Systems to support literature review (LR) and manuscript preparation tend to focus on only one or two of the tasks involved. The purpose of this paper is to describe an intervention framework that redesigns a particular set of tasks, allowing for interconnectivity between the tasks and providing appropriate user interface display features for each task in a prototype system.

Design/methodology/approach

A user evaluation study was conducted on the prototype system. The system supports the three tasks: building a reading list (RL) of research papers, finding similar papers based on a set of papers and shortlisting papers from the final RL for inclusion in manuscript based on article type. A total of 119 researchers who had experience in authoring research papers, participated in the evaluation study. They had to select one of the provided 43 topics and execute the tasks offered by the system. Three questionnaires were provided for evaluating the tasks and system. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed on the collected evaluation data.

Findings

Task redesign aspects had a positive impact in user evaluation for the second task of finding similar papers while improvement was found to be required for the first and third tasks. The tasks interconnectivity features seed basket and RL were helpful for the participants in conveniently searching for papers within the system. Two of the four proposed informational display features, namely, information cue labels and shared co-relations were the most preferred features of the system. Student user group found the task recommendations and the overall system to be more useful and effective than the staff group.

Originality/value

This study validates the importance of interconnected task design and novel informational display features in accentuating task-based recommendations for LR and manuscript preparatory tasks. The potential for improvement in recommendations was shown through the task redesign exercise where new requirements for the tasks were identified. The resultant prototype system helps in bridging the gap between novices and experts in terms of LR skills.

Keywords

Citation

Sesagiri Raamkumar, A., Foo, S. and Pang, N. (2017), "Evaluating a threefold intervention framework for assisting researchers in literature review and manuscript preparatory tasks", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 3, pp. 555-580. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-06-2016-0072

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited