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Realising the value of RiLIES: the research in librarianship impact evaluation study

Cruickshank, Peter; Hall, Hazel; Taylor-Smith, Ella


Hazel Hall


In 2011 researchers at Edinburgh Napier University, supported by the UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition, investigated the extent to which funded research projects in the domain of library and information science (LIS) influence practice in the UK. The Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) focused particularly on identifying factors that increase or hinder the impact of research findings on those who deliver library and information services. This paper presents the main findings of the RiLIES project as derived from: (1) a review of the LIS literature on impact; (2) a practitioner poll; (3) case studies of five LIS research projects identified as “impactful”; (4) three sector-specific focus groups; and (5) a validation survey. The findings highlight the evident disconnect between the LIS research and practitioner communities. They confirm that the level of impact that a research project enjoys depends on a number of factors, most importantly how it is planned and conceived, the extent to which practitioners are involved in its execution, and how its findings are reported. This work also demonstrates how organisational factors related to institutional and infrastructural support can engender receptive target audiences for research output. The paper offers new insight into the influence that research leadership and sponsorship, as well as choices related to the involvement of practitioners in research, play in the determination of research impact. In particular, these findings highlight a preference for face-to-face channels for the dissemination of research results that is greater than has been previously reported, and reveal the role of social media in raising awareness of research for the first time in work on this theme. The presentation is of particular interest to those keen to enhance the impact of their LIS research projects, and to practitioners who would like to become more engaged in LIS research. Conference web site at

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 4th International Conference on Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries
Start Date May 22, 2012
End Date May 25, 2012
Publication Date 2012
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2012
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition; Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES); research projects;
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