Saturday, July 28, 2018

Dear School Librarian In Action: Research and Choosing a Topic

Sharing with you, dear readers, the email exchanges I had with Vin del Rosario. In a previous post, I blogged about his inquiry on research and choice of topics. My reply to him is below:

Hi Vin,

Where are you completing your MLIS? What have you found so far considering some primary research you have read? What are your topics or issues of interest?

I can give you my list, but research is more effective and meaningful if it comes from the research’s inner intent, desire and curiosity.

He replied back:

Appreciate your immediate feedback.

Sa UST po.

Am a school librarian (dito po sa neighbor nyo sa Laguna BelAir Science School).  I've been browsing papers on makerspace, new K-12 curriculum and IL, etextbooks, reading remediation and corporate social responsibility of school librarians (for sick children in hospitals), and visibility of librarians and work inspiration.

Parang interesado din po ako sa millennial librarians (pero I cant connect it with any issues/gaps/problems).

Pero sa lahat po, it's the visibility of librarians that is closest to my heart.  But I can't "connect" it with something more relevant.

Salamat po uli.

And finally my answer:

Visibility of librarians in what way? Is it on image? Perception? Relevance of school librarians in teaching and learning communities? Librarians and leadership, specifically, school librarians as literacy leaders and advocates.

Will it benefit your search for a topic if you look at concepts outside the LIS discipline and connect it with ours. Like, will a knowledge of pedagogy help school librarians become visible and relevant to the learning community? Here, you will look at the status of school librarians in several schools and learning communities. What schools have had successfull visible librarians? Why are these librarians visible in these schools? Is it because the librarians know the pedagogy and thus, contributing much to the teaching and learning process. Or is it because these librarians are leaders - they can manage themselves, relate well with colleagues, have a sense of business acumen, and learns constantly. And sometimes a big question can be a good start to polish a research topic:

Why is it that librarians know their worth in a learning community but the learning community does not? 

Try the mind mapping approach to widen and limit your inquiry process. Then step back and see what you have made. Look at connections in macro and micro issues and topics. Do a lot of readings as well. This goes hand in hand in choosing specific topics and issues. Be patient. Research takes time as it is exhausting. 

Here’s hoping that Vin has found a topic since he thanked me for the brain storming we had over email. This goes to show how conversations are a big help for researchers and that, research, when taken as a means of communication, is never an isolated endeavor.

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