Partners in research and learning: library staff and PhD students

Eystein Gullbekk & Tove Rullestad

Research support is a hot topic!  Challenging contextual factors include:

  • Funding regimes and international cooperation
  • Multidisciplinarity – areas rather than disciplines
  • From print to digital publications
  • Reduced gap between formal and informal scholarly communication
  • Competencies

Information management for knowledge creation

This is a research project running from 2010-2013.  It involves a literature review and qualitative research carried out in separate focus group interviews with doctoral students and supervisors.

Selected findings

  • Need for efficiency: self-sufficiency, time management, use of info resources
  • Perception of their own skills: high self confidence related to finding resources, but insecurity related to gaining overview, and complexity of databases
  • Libraries and librarians operate according to a ‘deficit model’ – assume students are info illiterate and have no background/prior knowledge
  • Publishing: pressure varies by discipline, random supervision

Reported criteria for successful supervision

  • Integration of information literacy with other research skills
  • Make visible the complexity involved in info searches
  • Address multidisciplinarity
  • Tailored services
  • Strengthen knowledge about the research process

Changing roles for libraries and librarians

From action to interaction

Changing roles

Doctoral students are sophisticated information-seekers and users of complex information sources – see JISC’s 2012 report Researchers of Tomorrow.



  1. Pingback: Summary of IFLA information literacy conference « Laura's Dark Archive

  2. Pingback: Summary of IFLA information literacy conference | Laura's Dark Archive

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