Presenting Findings In Library-Based Dissertations On Leadership

Children and Youth Services

Annie E. Casey Foundation – KIDS COUNT

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of the children in the U.S. KIDS COUNT provides local, state, and national data about children.

Teens in the Library – Findings from the Evaluation of Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development

This study reports on findings from the Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development Initiative, a 3-year, 9-site initiative funded by The Wallace Foundation to develop innovative models for public libraries to provide high-quality educational enrichment and career development programs serving underserved low-income children and youth.
New on the Shelf: Teens in the Library

Toronto Star–Libraries tied to student achievement–study makes case for training, funding

The first Canadian study linking school libraries to student achievement indicates that better libraries improve student test scores and add to kids’ reading enjoyment.
Better grades? Thank a librarian by Tess Kalinowski, education reporter

SmartGirl.com – Teen Read Week Surveys

An examination of the correlation between parents reading to their children and the likelihood of those children to read later in life.Report on Teen Read Week Survey
“A Partnership of SmartGirl.com and The American Library Association”, this page summarizes the findings of a survey conducted during Teen Read Week (October 17-23) 1999 exploring the reading habits of young adults, ages 11-18.
Report on Teen Read Week Survey

A Survey of Library Services to Schools and Children in the UK 2003-04

Annual, published Autumn. Based on a detailed questionnaire survey, it includes tables of individual authority data, with explanatory comments, summaries and per capita indicators, covering children’s services in the public library and support provided through Schools Library Services. This year a supplement to the main report gives detailed data by government office region for England.

ALA/Dewitt Wallace-Reader

Dewitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund 1998 initiative entitled “Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development.” The first report summarizes the results of a survey conducted jointly with the American Library Association; the second report shows how the survey findings were put into action.
“Programs for School-Age Youth in Public Libraries”: htmlpdf
“Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development”: htmlpdf

National Center for Education Statistics

Services and Resources for Children and Young Adults in Public Libraries (1995)
“This report will present current information about the services and resources that are available to children and young adults at public libraries. It will also include information on the usage by patrons, barriers to increased usage, and library-schools-community organizations interactions.”

Childstats.gov

The official Website of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics Federal provides federal and state statistics and reports on children and their families, including: population and family characteristics, security, health, behavior and social environment.

Disability Statistics

American Foundation for the Blind–Who’s Watching?

A Profile of the Blind and Visually Impaired Audience for Television and Video
Presents results of a study on video description (technique that inserts explanations and descriptions of visual elements of a video or television program for the visually impaired). Statistics are presented in tables and charts including “ways that vision problems affect respondents’ television watching, television genres that respondents would like to have described, and receptivity of respondents to video description.”

International Center for Disability Information

Disability Tables organized by state, total U.S. and world data including statistics on work disability, self care and mobility, life expectancy, need for personal assistance, elderly issues, and veterans’ employment.

National Center for Health Statistics FASTATS–A to Z–Disabilities/Impairments

Health data for Americans including selected impairments per 1,000 persons by age, sex and age, race and age, and geographic region.
Disabilities/Limitations

National Health Interview Survey on Disability (NHIS-D)m

News releases and fact sheets, data highlights, data collection survey instruments.

US Census Bureau: Disability

View the most recent reports, briefs, and data on disability and obtain disability data to create your own tables and cross tabulations as well as links to other related sites.

Economic and Social Statistics

America’s Career InfoNet

Occupational information including wages, trends, and state profiles.

America’s Labor Market Information System

Provides short term forecasts, long term industry projections, MicroMatrix occupational projections, standard wage, and state occupational projections.
Labor Market Information Training Institute

Bureau of Analysis

International, national, and regional data
U.S. Economic Accounts

Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

U.S. Department of LaborBureau of Labor Statistics
Survey produces estimates of employment and wage rates by occupation including:
Librarians, Professional Occupational Employment and Wages, 2002; 25-4021 Librarians
Technical Assistants, Library Occupational Employment and Wages, 2002; 25-4031 Library Technicians

Current Population SurveyMain Page

Provides estimates on employment, unemployment, earnings, hours of work, and other indicators. Date is available by age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment, in addition to occupation, industry, and class of worker.
U.S. Census BureauTechnical Documentation

Policy Institute

The Institute’s Datazone contains online tables including wage and compensation trends, family earnings and income trends, prices, low wage labor market indicators, and employment statistics.

Econdata.net

Links to government, private, and academic data sources—a quick access point to state and sub state socio data.
Your Guide to Regional Data on the Web

International, national, and regional data

Local Area Personal Income

School District Analysis System (SDAS)

This NCES application allows users to view summary state and national tables of school district data from the 2000 School District Special Tabulation (STP2). The system is made up of a set of cross tabulations permitting users to specify pre-selected row topics and column topics. Column topics provide a unique distribution of school district data grouped by the indicated characteristics (e.g., percent minority, school district size, etc.). The enrollment column topic is essentially a rearrangement of the state and U.S. data provided in the Census 2000 data link.
School District Demographics

StateMaster.com

Statemaster is “a unique statistical database which allows you to research and compare a multitude of different data on US states.”

U.S. Census Bureau: Poverty

Resource guide to poverty in the United States. Page includes link to Poverty 1999 Report in pdf-file format, as well as Current Population Survey (CPS), Poverty Definition, Thresholds and Guidelines, Decennial Census, Recent Poverty Measurement Research , Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and Small Area Estimates.

U.S. Department of Justice: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Offers statistics on crimes and victims, corrections, courts and sentencing, and more.

Economic Impact of Library Services

Economic Impact StudyRegional Benefits of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

An economic impact study shows that Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh provides quantifiable economic benefits to the region and is the Pittsburgh area’s most visited regional asset.

Economic Hard Times and Public Library Use Revisited

This 2002 article by Mary Jo Lynch has as its mission to explore the proposition of whether or not library use increases during an economic downturn
American Libraries article

Economic Benefits and Impacts from Public Libraries–State of Florida, 2001

This study conducted by the Information Use, Management and Policy Institute of Florida State University and funded by the State Library of Florida surveyed library patrons about their perceptions of the economic benefits and impacts of public libraries. Based on findings reported here, a follow-up return-on-investment (ROI) study is proposed.

Laser Foundation: Libraries Impact Project

This project sought to develop a series of measures that offer a transferable framework for adoption by library authorities to allow them to demonstrate the distinctive contribution that libraries make to a range of policy areas at local and national level.

New York’s Libraries: How they STACK UP!

A New York State Library publication that shows how New York’s libraries are good for the economy

Placing a Value on Public Library Services1998

This St. Louis Public Library study applied a variety of economic concepts (including cost-benefit analysis, economic impact analysis, and consumer surplus valuation) to valuing public investment in library services.

Public Library Use in Pennsylvania: Identifying Uses, Benefits, and Impacts–Final Report

Charles R. McClure and John C. Bertot (June 1998)

South Carolina Public Library Economic Impact Study

A study prepared by the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina

Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries

The State Library and Archives of Florida hopes to use the results of this study to show that when Florida’s state and local governments invest in libraries, it enhances the quality of life in communities and helps build a diversified economy.
State Library and Archives of FloridaReturn on Investment Study

Worth Their Weight: An Assessment of the Evolving Field of Library Valuation

Americans for Libraries Council’s newest report offers researchers and advocates an overview of the cutting-edge field of library valuation, or models for expressing a library’s multiple contributions to its community in dollars and cents.

Fiscal Indexes

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)

Bureau of Labor Statistics Index

Periodical Price Survey, Library Journal

20142013201220112010200920082007200620052004200320022001

International Library Statistics

LibEcon

This site was established by the European Commission within the Telematics Applications Programme. Its purpose is to test and then generate an automatic means of collecting data from respondents in each of 29 countries comprising signatories to the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) and the Association Agreement with the EU in Central and Eastern Europe (C&EE). Data collected in past surveys has been added to the database, and visitors to this site can review past trends as well as compare national statistics.
Libecon.org – A research study into international library economics (Requires first-time users to register)

Library & Information Statistics TablesUK

Library statistics reporting library and information statistics in the UK from 1997 through 2000. Published and compiled by the Library & Information Statistics Unit, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicstershire.
Department of Information Science – Loughborough University

Australia and New Zealand Academic Library Statistics

Statistics for academic libraries in Australia and New Zealand, collected annually and published by CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians)
1983Present

Canadian Association of Research Libraries Statistics

Order information for publications distributed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
Publication list

Canadian Public Library Statistics

Produced annually by the Mississauga Library System for CALUPL (Council of Administrators of Large Urban Public Librarians), the Canadian Public Library Statistical survey and report compiles data for libraries in Canadian cities with populations over 50,000.
City of Mississauga

New Zealand Public Library Statistics

Statistical information about public libraries in New Zealand
Statistics

UNESCO International Library Statistics

Statistical tables for national libraries, public libraries, and higher (“tertiary”) education libraries in selected countries from the UNESCO Statistical Yearbook
Statistical Yearbook 1999

Libraries and Books

American Book Sellers Association: BookWeb: Research & Statistics

Offers book industry reports, statistics, the ABACUS Financial Study, and facts of interest about the book industry

American Library Association–The State of America

This status report on the health and welfare of the nation’s libraries compiles a wide variety of available data on library-related topics such as: public opinion, funding, construction, the USA PATRIOT Act, copyright, censorship, and the “65 percent solution.”

20142013201220112010

The Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac

Ordering information for this “on-the-job answer book…statistical information resource…planning and research guide.”

BUBL Library and Information Science Journals

Contents, abstracts or full texts of current library and information science journals and newsletters.

Quotable Facts About America

Mini-brochure produced by the American Library Association and Library Research Service providing quick facts about libraries in the United States

Library Budgets

ALA, Office for Research and StatisticsSmallest, largest libraries in U.S. see largest funding cuts

Public libraries serving more than 500,000 or fewer than 25,000 people saw the greatest midyear funding cuts, according to a national study from the American Library Association (ALA). The study also found that libraries in the West and Midwest sustained larger cuts than their counterparts in the South and East. The study is the first national look at midyear changes in public library budgets. Responses came from a nationally representative sample of U.S. public libraries.
Survey Results

Library JournalBudget Reports

201320122009200820072006 20052004 2003

Library Buildings

Library Buildings, Library Journal

20142013201220112009200820072006 20052004 20032002 2001 2000
Square footage recommendations for school libraries
Table from the Maine School Libraries Facilities Handbook showing suggested square footage for specific enrollments

Library Referenda

Library Referenda, Library Journal

201120102007

Referenda Roundup, American Libraries

2006 2005 2004 2003200220012000

Literacy

Colorado Literacy Research Initiative

CLRI provides access to research and statistics that inform decision-making for adult education programs throughout the state. Includes local, state, national, and international data on literacy and educational attainment as well as statistics on related social and economic conditions. Also provides links to other web resources (such as full text reports of literacy research studies), other sites reporting literacy research, and contact information for literacy researchers. Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files of all issues of LitScan: Facts & Figures from the Colorado Literacy Research Initiative are available at this site.

Planning Resources

Appleton (WI) Public Library Long-range Plan 2008-2010

Using the Planning for Results manual, Appleton’s plan is a good model for other libraries of its size. Includes the library’s vision, mission statement, service responses, and goals and objectives.

Oak Lawn (IL) Public Library Long-range Plan

Another good example of a long-range plan including a description of the planning process, mission statement, and the long-range plan goals.

Prices

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Consumer price index (CPI), producer price index, international price index, unemployment rates, labor force statistics, payroll statistics, collective bargaining agreements, employee benefits survey, employment cost index, occupational injury and illness rates, productivity and costs index.
Consumer Price Index

Library Journal, April 15, 2007:

As open access gains ground, STM publishers change tactics, and librarians ask hard questions
Serial Wars by Lee C. Van Orsdel & Kathleen Born

Library Journal, April 15, 2006:

While the struggle over open access plays out, librarians, vendors, and publishers continue to trade within a market dominated by all things electronic.
Journals in the Time of Google by Lee C. Van Orsdel & Kathleen Born

The Non-subscription Side of Periodicals: Changes in Library Operations and Costs Between Print and Electronic Formats

This 2003-04 study by the Council on Library and Information Resources (Washington, DC) examined the ‘non-subscription’ costs of print vs. e-periodicals and found that these costs of e-periodicals are consistently and substantially lower than those of their print counterparts.
The Non-subscription Side of Periodicals
Also, see the March 1, 2005 Library Journal article, Digital Savings, at Library Journal Digital Savings

School Library Journal: Average Book Prices, Children

2014 2013 2011 2009

U.S. Periodical Prices Index, American Libraries

Price Indexes for 2000-2005

U.S. Serial Services Price Index for American Libraries

U.S. Serial Services Price Index-2002

Public Opinion Polls

Southern Maryland Regional Library and Division of Library Development and Services, Maryland State Department of Education (2006)

Maryland Public Library Survey, Customer Survey of Maryland Residents About Libraries
Survey

Public AgendaLong Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public Attitudes About Libraries (2006)

Public Agenda examines attitudes about libraries in their latest study, “Long Overdue.” The report includes the results of a national survey of the general public as well as interviews with national and local civic leaders.
Full Report

Benton FoundationLocal Places, Global Connections: Libraries in the Digital Age (1997)

Benton FoundationBuildings, books, and bytes (1996)

National Center for Education Statistics

Use of Public Library Services by Households in the United States: 1996

Staffing and Salaries

Administrative Compensation Survey

Washington, DC: College and University Professional Association for Resources (CUPA-HR)
Executive Summaries, Data Samples and Survey Press Releases

ALA Salary Survey

Chicago and London: American Library Association, published annually.
Summary and Ordering Information

ALA Library Journal Annual Report of LIS Placements and Salaries

2014201320122011201020092008200520042003

ALA Library Staff Studies

Results of Supplementary Questions in the Annual ALA Survey of Librarian Salaries

ALA Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Librarians: A Status Report (1998)

by Mary Jo Lynch, American Library Association

ALA Retirement & Recruitment: A Deeper Look

by Mary Jo Lynch, Former Director, ALA Office for Research & Statistics and
Stephen Tordella, President, Decision Demographics
Thomas Godfrey, Senior Demographer, Decision Demographics

ARL Annual Salary Survey

Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, published annually.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, biennial.
U.S. Department of Labor and Statistics – 2006-07 Edition

Bowker AnnualResearch on Libraries and Librarianship

Annual article summarizing library research
20082007200620052004200320022001 2000

Yahoo’s Hot Jobs Salary Survey

Look up salary information based on type of job and geographic location.
Yahoo’s Salary & Benefits: Salary Wizard

State Library Agencies

State Library Agency Data

E.D. TAB data from the National Center for Education Statistics regarding state library agencies in the United States.
State Library Agencies
2005

Summer Reading Programs

Colorado State Library

Summer Reading Possibilities
Explore the Possibilities with Summer Reading @your Library

Colorado State Library

Participating in a summer reading program makes a difference in student achievement!
Summer Reading @your Library

New York State Library

Highlights of Research on Summer Reading and Effects on Student Achievement
New York State Library’s Statewide Summer Reading Program

A key part of your dissertation or thesis is the methodology. This is not quite the same as ‘methods’.

The methodology describes the broad philosophical underpinning to your chosen research methods, including whether you are using qualitative or quantitative methods, or a mixture of both, and why.

You should be clear about the academic basis for all the choices of research methods that you have made. 'I was interested' or 'I thought...' is not enough; there must be good academic reasons for your choice.

What to Include in your Methodology

If you are submitting your dissertation in sections, with the methodology submitted before you actually undertake the research, you should use this section to set out exactly what you plan to do.

The methodology should be linked back to the literature to explain why you are using certain methods, and the academic basis of your choice.

If you are submitting as a single thesis, then the Methodology should explain what you did, with any refinements that you made as your work progressed. Again, it should have a clear academic justification of all the choices that you made and be linked back to the literature.


Common Research Methods for the Social Sciences

There are numerous research methods that can be used when researching scientific subjects, you should discuss which are the most appropriate for your research with your supervisor.

The following research methods are commonly used in social science, involving human subjects:

Interviews

One of the most flexible and widely used methods for gaining qualitative information about people’s experiences, views and feelings is the interview. 

An interview can be thought of as a guided conversation between a researcher (you) and somebody from whom you wish to learn something (often referred to as the ‘informant’). 

The level of structure in an interview can vary, but most commonly interviewers follow a semi-structured format.  This means that the interviewer will develop a guide to the topics that he or she wishes to cover in the conversation, and may even write out a number of questions to ask. 

However, the interviewer is free to follow different paths of conversation that emerge over the course of the interview, or to prompt the informant to clarify and expand on certain points. Therefore, interviews are particularly good tools for gaining detailed information where the research question is open-ended in terms of the range of possible answers.

Interviews are not particularly well suited for gaining information from large numbers of people. Interviews are time-consuming, and so careful attention needs to be given to selecting informants who will have the knowledge or experiences necessary to answer the research question.  

See our page: Interviews for Research for more information.

Observations

If a researcher wants to know what people do under certain circumstances, the most straightforward way to get this information is sometimes simply to watch them under those circumstances.

Observations can form a part of either quantitative or qualitative research.  For instance, if a researcher wants to determine whether the introduction of a traffic sign makes any difference to the number of cars slowing down at a dangerous curve, she or he could sit near the curve and count the number of cars that do and do not slow down.  Because the data will be numbers of cars, this is an example of quantitative observation.

A researcher wanting to know how people react to a billboard advertisement might spend time watching and describing the reactions of the people.  In this case, the data would be descriptive, and would therefore be qualitative.

There are a number of potential ethical concerns that can arise with an observation study. Do the people being studied know that they are under observation?  Can they give their consent?  If some people are unhappy with being observed, is it possible to ‘remove’ them from the study while still carrying out observations of the others around them?

See our page: Observational Research and Secondary Data for more information.

Questionnaires

If your intended research question requires you to collect standardised (and therefore comparable) information from a number of people, then questionnaires may be the best method to use.

Questionnaires can be used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, although you will not be able to get the level of detail in qualitative responses to a questionnaire that you could in an interview.

Questionnaires require a great deal of care in their design and delivery, but a well-developed questionnaire can be distributed to a much larger number of people than it would be possible to interview. 

Questionnaires are particularly well suited for research seeking to measure some parameters for a group of people (e.g., average age, percentage agreeing with a proposition, level of awareness of an issue), or to make comparisons between groups of people (e.g., to determine whether members of different generations held the same or different views on immigration).

See our page: Surveys and Survey Design for more information.

Documentary Analysis

Documentary analysis involves obtaining data from existing documents without having to question people through interview, questionnaires or observe their behaviour. Documentary analysis is the main way that historians obtain data about their research subjects, but it can also be a valuable tool for contemporary social scientists.

Documents are tangible materials in which facts or ideas have been recorded.  Typically, we think of items written or produced on paper, such as newspaper articles, Government policy records, leaflets and minutes of meetings.  Items in other media can also be the subject of documentary analysis, including films, songs, websites and photographs.

Documents can reveal a great deal about the people or organisation that produced them and the social context in which they emerged. 

Some documents are part of the public domain and are freely accessible, whereas other documents may be classified, confidential or otherwise unavailable to public access.  If such documents are used as data for research, the researcher must come to an agreement with the holder of the documents about how the contents can and cannot be used and how confidentiality will be preserved.

See our page: Observational Research and Secondary Data for more information.

How to Choose your Methodology and Precise Research Methods

Your methodology should be linked back to your research questions and previous research.

Visit your university or college library and ask the librarians for help; they should be able to help you to identify the standard research method textbooks in your field. See also our section on Research Methods for some further ideas.

Such books will help you to identify your broad research philosophy, and then choose methods which relate to that. This section of your dissertation or thesis should set your research in the context of its theoretical underpinnings.

The methodology should also explain the weaknesses of your chosen approach and how you plan to avoid the worst pitfalls, perhaps by triangulating your data with other methods, or why you do not think the weakness is relevant.

For every philosophical underpinning, you will almost certainly be able to find researchers who support it and those who don’t.

Use the arguments for and against expressed in the literature to explain why you have chosen to use this methodology or why the weaknesses don’t matter here.


Structuring your Methodology

It is usually helpful to start your section on methodology by setting out the conceptual framework in which you plan to operate with reference to the key texts on that approach.

You should be clear throughout about the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen approach and how you plan to address them. You should also note any issues of which to be aware, for example in sample selection or to make your findings more relevant.

You should then move on to discuss your research questions, and how you plan to address each of them.

This is the point at which to set out your chosen research methods, including their theoretical basis, and the literature supporting them. You should make clear whether you think the method is ‘tried and tested’ or much more experimental, and what kind of reliance you could place on the results. You will also need to discuss this again in the discussion section.

Your research may even aim to test the research methods, to see if they work in certain circumstances.

You should conclude by summarising your research methods, the underpinning approach, and what you see as the key challenges that you will face in your research. Again, these are the areas that you will want to revisit in your discussion.


Conclusion

Your methodology, and the precise methods that you choose to use in your research, are crucial to its success.

It is worth spending plenty of time on this section to ensure that you get it right. As always, draw on the resources available to you, for example by discussing your plans in detail with your supervisor who may be able to suggest whether your approach has significant flaws which you could address in some way.

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