So one of my big goals for this blog is to start a conversation around the study of research, among other things. I’m at the beginning stages of figuring out what that might look like and how to get it started and even set up a new page with some details about what I would be looking for. But I also wanted to share some vague notions here to at least get the ball rolling.
What I would really love is to be able to feature guest posts from researchers who study research and also those who teach the study of research. It’s been really useful for me to use this space to articulate some of my own ideas, but what really interests me about the study of research is that there are so many scholars and educators, particularly in the library and information science field, who are out there right now actually studying the products or processes of research in order to understand something about research itself or teaching how to do this. I literally wrote a whole article (currently in review) about how the core LIS journals are actually filled with studies of research. Some of those articles are also about how to teach this stuff.
The trouble is, these scholars and educators don’t necessarily think of what they’re doing in that way. So I anticipate that there’s going to be a certain amount of leg work in explaining what this metaconcept is (which, hopefully, the article I wrote and some of this blog can do for me) and also how I think it might apply to each scholar’s work. Like I said, I recently wrote an article that lays out in some detail how common topics from the LIS literature might be related, either directly or indirectly, to the study of research but it’s going to be a while before that becomes available given the peer review and revision process that I have no doubt is coming.
Still. The fact that this metaconcept applies to things that people are already doing is actually what makes it kind of cool to me. That’s why I would really love to hear from scholars and educators who are already doing this kind of research to learn about what motivated their work, what they’ve found, and where they’re hoping to go with it in the future. You could get that from a scholarly article or presentation but here I want to give scholars and educators a chance to geek out a little about their own work in a more informal way.
Picking a format
In the interest of full disclosure, the idea of doing guest posts in the first place came from Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds, where he often features guest posts from other authors where they talk about five things they learned writing their latest project. Their “five things” tend to involve some combination of what they learned about the writing or publication process and it’s always an interesting read and a great way for the authors to promote their books.
Ideally, I would like to steal that format (assuming no copyright restrictions) and have scholars write about 3-5 things they learned from a recent project, either a study of research or something related to their teaching on this topic. Those things could be anything, by the way, not just the results or conclusions of a research study. They could talk about something they learned about research or teaching or the presenting/publication process or just general wisdom, especially anything that might benefit newer or aspiring scholars.
I’m guessing some potential guests would be more open to that format than others, so I’m thinking of offering a second choice where I send a set of pre-determined questions and the potential guest authors then answer those questions. I did something like this a few years ago when a tutorial I created was selected as an ACRL IS PRIMO Site of the Month. As the interviewee, I liked that format because it made it clear what information I should be sharing. Then again, not all of the questions were really applicable. IDK.
And if neither of those options appealed? I would be more than willing to let a potential guest author go with whatever format they wanted. Honestly, I would just be thrilled if someone wanted to do this in the first place.
I imagine someone like Chuck Wendig doesn’t have much trouble finding people to write one of those “five things” guest posts for his blog. But that’s because he’s a bestselling author with a popular blog and writing those posts is, if nothing else, a major signal boost for some of the less well-known authors who are featured. I know I’ve discovered some great new writers to follow through these posts.
Meanwhile, my blog currently gets approximately half a view a day and most of the time that viewer is probably me. So obviously if I want anyone to write a guest post, I’m going to have to approach them. The good news is I’ve already started making a list of librarian scholars and educators I would be interested in talking to, based on the contents of recent journal issues and conference programs.
The bad news is I’m not quite sure what I have to offer these folks for their work and their time. Because unfortunately I can offer them neither prestige nor compensation, at least at the moment. I’ll work on the prestige thing (and maybe also the compensation thing because there has to be a relevant grant out there somewhere, right?) but really anyone who wrote a guest post would be the one doing me a favor. And chances are, they have no idea who I am. So it might be a little hard to make a convincing case and I expect to get a lot of no’s.
But maybe there will be a yes in there? I feel like if I really want to meet the goal of turning this blog into a conversation, I have to at least try.
Just know that if I do contact you and you happen to read through this post, I’m a legitimate professional with a real interest in your work who happens to not quite know what I’m doing and not some random weirdo trying to take advantage of you. Really. If you need proof, I’ll give you references and everything.
I also want to leave open the possibility that someone might want to contact me, which would be wonderful. So if you think you might want to contribute and nothing here has convinced you otherwise, I’ve come up with a set of rough guidelines and also a proposal form just in case. I would love to hear your idea.