My Research Topic

This semester is just about 4 days old. My class this semester, ILS680-Evaluation & Research, is built around a research project. I’ve been thinking about this since the end of last semester, doing some preliminary literature searches on issues relating to technology in libraries and/or technical support issues in libraries. Since Tuesday, I’ve been immersed in literature about computer self-efficacy – a fascinating field with a great deal of literature devoted to it. Of course, there isn’t much in the way of evaluating levels of perceived computer self-efficacy among library staff. I have to thank my professor for mentioning self-efficacy which was the missing piece to my jumbled research ideas.

So, my research question, which I’m sure will undergo future revisions, should be something along the lines of “Do different models of technical support in academic libraries impact computer self-efficacy levels of library staff?” Some of the questions that I’m hoping to be able to get answers to: Do different models of technical support affect computer self-efficacy? Do combined IT/library departments engender greater computer self-efficacy? Less? I also want to compare computer self-efficacy across demographic groups. Is there a difference depending upon educational attainment? Age? etc.

I’m pretty excited about my topic – which is good considering how much time I will be spending with it over the next several months. Computer self-efficacy is a key issue – once which I think must have a huge impact on library staff’s ability to make the most of technology in the workplace. I am definitely looking forward to getting started. Of course, in the near future, I need to refine my research question, do a literature review, and fill out an IRB (Institutional Research Board) application. There is lots and lots of work to be done, but I think this might just be the best ending to my graduate school experience.

How’s that for some positive thinking?

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