Reflections on Practitioner Research: A Practical Guide for Information Professionals. Lee Ann Fullington, Brandon K. West, and Frans Albarillo, eds. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2020. 290p. Paper, $78 (ISBN 978-0-8389-4847-7).

Nimisha Bhat

Abstract

In Reflections of Practitioner Research: A Practical Guide for Information Professionals, the authors acknowledge that conducting research is often at odds with the service orientation of the library and information science field. Not every library professional who conducts research has had formal training in conducting and publishing research, and so this book aims to serve the practitioner-researcher who is doing this research while working in a public service, whether that work is paid or voluntary, informal or formal. It is refreshing to see this book immediately widen the scope of who is considered a researcher: everyone working in a library setting regardless of type or experience who is pursuing a project can add that title to their list of professional identities. As the editors say in their introduction, the book “celebrates and tries to draw insights from the messiness of applying research methods” (x) in the face of all the limitations that library professionals experience, including juggling responsibilities, time, and institutional expectations. The chapters are written by a blend of novice and experienced practitioner-researchers from many different types of libraries who were encouraged to write in a first-person perspective “to promote the feeling of having a conversation with a colleague.” (xi) The book is thematically organized into three sections that are not designed to be read in a linear progression but rather allow the reader to freely navigate throughout to find guidance relevant for their own research journey. Every chapter describes a research project or technique from start to finish, often describing setbacks or barriers and how the author found a solution. Each chapter ends with a reflection section where the author/s acknowledge/s how the process went, providing recommendations for fellow practitioner-researchers who may be pursuing a similar project or method.

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