Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Academic Writing Award - librarianship

The MU Library/New Review of Academic Librarianship Award for Academic Writing
sponsored by Taylor & Francis and Maynooth University Library is now open for entries

Librarian as Communicator: Case Studies and International Perspectives edited by Helen Fallon and Dr Graham Walton and published by Routledge, will be launched at Maynooth University (MU) Library at 4p.m.  on 9th November 2017.
To mark the occasion MU/ NRAL/Taylor & Francis will award a prize open to Irish librarians for producing an outline of a paper/ article that will be developed for publication in New Review of Academic Librarianship.
Purpose The objective of this award is to encourage Irish librarians and those undertaking studies in librarianship to publish in the peer-reviewed literature.
Eligibility Entries are welcome from Irish librarians and Irish students undertaking courses in librarianship in Ireland or overseas who wish to see their work published in New Review of Academic Librarianship.

Requirements Proposals must be between 300 and 500 words and may be on any topic of relevance to academic librarianship. Proposals must include:
Brief introduction
Brief description of methodology
A Judging Panel with representation from NRAL, MU and Taylor & Francis will be set up to consider the submissions. The judging panel will be seeking proposals that are grounded in research/ evidence/ wider context.
More information about NRAL
The winner will be announced at the book launch on 9th November 2017.
Proposals will be considered  in terms of their:
Relevance to scholarly communication and academic librarianshi
Clarity, coherence and organization of proposal
Originality and innovation of the work

Prize The author of the winning proposal will receive engraved crystalware and a book token to the value of  $50. They will also receive mentoring to develop their paper for publication in New Review of Academic Librarianship.  It is expected that a completed article of approximately 5,000 words will be submitted by June 2018.
Due date Proposals must be received, via e-mail, by Helen Fallon, Deputy University Librarian at MU, by 30th September 2017, helen.b.fallon@mu.iePlease include a short biography.

The winners of the 2016 Award were Dr Jessica Bates and Geraldine Delaney from Ulster University.
Their winning proposal is posted below to give an insight into what is required in a proposal of this nature.

Title of proposed article:
Doctoral students’ use of the university library: How can universities better support the information needs of research students?

Geraldine Delaney, Library, Ulster University
Dr Jessica Bates, School of Education, Ulster University

The research literature on use of academic libraries by students has tended to focus on the undergraduate population and at the same time academic libraries are looking at ways to better serve their research users and to demonstrate their research value to university senior management. The aim of the research was to investigate current and future needs of the academic library among doctoral students.  This study identifies PhD students’ information literacy needs training in the light of new practices and explores current levels of engagement, barriers to full exploitation and gaps in existing services.  The research questions were:
• What are PhD students’ current usage and experiences of the library service?
• What is their perception of the library’s role in the research process and what additional services might they benefit from?
• How the library might engage and sustain better relationships with students?

The study focused on first year PhD students at Ulster University (which was around 180 students), as this would be the stage of the PhD where students engage most heavily with the library while they explore their topic and undertake a review of the relevant literature and it took a mixed-methods approach.  An online questionnaire was sent out to all first year PhD students (the response rate was 34%), and following this, in-depth semi-structured interviews with three doctoral students were carried out.

Findings show that just over half the respondents start their research from the Library’s e-journal interface or databases and these resources are also their main tools for research. Little use was made of social media or apps for doctoral research.
Students’ ability to correctly identify different source types within a reference did not match the confidence they expressed in their own abilities, and two thirds were not aware of basic e-book capabilities. However over 90% of the respondents strongly agreed that the university library service was essential for their research (with 88% either strongly agreeing or agreeing that the library met all of their research information needs).

A number of recommendations regarding the improvement of library services for PhD students are made and these will be of interest to academic libraries more generally. The study provides a snapshot of how first year doctoral students currently consider and use the university library service. Despite continuing challenges and budgetary constraints, the library does well to support researchers. The challenge for this and other academic libraries is in embracing emergent roles in e-research support, and this study provides a valuable evidence base for moving forward with this.

If you have any queries, please contact Helen Fallon

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