Research Output

Long-term community development within a researcher network: a social network analysis of the DREaM project cadre

  Purpose Results are reported from a study that investigated the extent to which an intervention to develop a community of library and information science researchers – the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project-was successful in meeting its main objective three years after its implementation. Of particular interest are factors that support or hinder network longevity. Design/methodology/approach Data were collected by online survey/telephone and focus group. From quantitative data a Social Network Analysis (SNA) and network diagrams were generated. Focus group discussions were recorded and transcribed, and data from these analysed manually. Findings Three years after the end of its formal funding period DREaM endured as a loose but persistent network. Social ties were more important than work ties, and network members with the highest network centrality held roles in academic institutions. Physical proximity between members was important to the maintenance of network ties. Actor status did not appear to have a bearing on network centrality. Research limitations/implications Discussion is limited to consideration of community development amongst core members of the network only. The 'manufactured' nature of the DREaM network, and unique context in which it was formed, has implications for the generalisibility of findings reported. Practical implications Social infrastructure is key to the long-term health of a network initiative. Continued ad hoc support would strengthen it further. Originality/value The findings add to understanding of factors important to the development of scholarly and learning communities. They extend contributions of earlier work that has deployed SNA techniques in library and information science research and research in other fields.

  • Type:

    Article

  • Date:

    07 February 2018

  • Publication Status:

    Published

  • DOI:

    10.1108/JD-05-2017-0069

  • Cross Ref:

    10.1108/JD-05-2017-0069

  • ISSN:

    0022-0418

  • Library of Congress:

    Z665 Library Science. Information Science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    020 Library & information sciences

  • Funders:

    Arts & Humanities Research Council; New Funder

Citation

Hall, H., Cruickshank, P., & Ryan, B. (2018). Long-term community development within a researcher network: a social network analysis of the DREaM project cadre. Journal of Documentation, 74(4), (844-861). doi:10.1108/JD-05-2017-0069. ISSN 0022-0418

Authors

Keywords

Developing Research Excellence and Methods, DREaM, DREaM Again,; Library and Information Science Research Coalition, learning communities,; networks, Scholarly networks, SNA, Social Network Analysis

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