Innovation & Research Practice

Paper: Program Description Abstract

Using a Reflexive Process to Investigate Organizational Change: The Use of the Research Spider Matrix

Tuesday, May 7
4:50 PM - 5:05 PM
Room: Columbus CD (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : Health sciences librarians are being asked to provide more research services for faculty, including grant writing, project development, and systematic reviews. Being ready to engage in the research process may require significant changes to existing organizational cultures and work practices. These changes also require librarians to assess their readiness to provide research services. We describe a self-evaluation pilot study by U. S. academic health librarians (n=7) to assess their skills in preparation for the development of these services.
Description : With the advent of a new Assistant Director brought in to develop research services, the ‘Research Spider’ matrix (Smith et al., 2001) was used to start discussions on how librarians addressed their professional knowledge within the framework of research expertise. Librarians read the Smith article and independently evaluated themselves in each area (scale of 1 to 5; novice to expert). After meeting several times to discuss the definition of terms, objective scale criteria, and levels of competencies, librarians reassessed themselves using newly-revised benchmarks. The instrument showed face and construct validity, with concurrent validity confirmed by performance evaluations. Participation in this self-assessment exercise enhanced trust relationships among existing team members, helped integrate new faculty, determined necessary competencies and skills, and collectively defined minimal competencies for each of the Spider’s legs.
Conclusion : The potential for change often is found in the internal dynamics of a group and in the contextual frames constructed by individuals. The Research Spider is a useful framework for understanding discrete characteristics of the research process. From an organizational perspective, the process provided pertinent data for individual and unit professional development goals, increased interpersonal and professional trust among the participants, and provided an innovative way to address new organizational challenges. Although self-assessment can be intimidating, the Research Spider broke the research process into manageable components, providing the librarians a way to identify competency levels, and inform future professional development.

Ardis Hanson

Assistant Director, Research and Education
Shimberg Health Sciences Library / University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

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Allison M. Howard, AHIP

Research and Education Librarian
Shimberg Health Sciences Library / University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

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Randall L. Polo

Research & Education Librarian
Shimberg Health Sciences Library / University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

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Krystal Bullers, AHIP

Emerging Technologies Librarian, Liaison to the College of Pharmacy / Assistant Librarian
Shimberg Health Sciences Library / University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

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Stephanie Tomlinson

Research and Education Librarian
Shimberg Health Sciences Library/ University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Stephanie M. Tomlinson, MLIS, is an Instructor Librarian at the Shimberg Health Sciences Library and the Liaison to the MorsaniCollege of Medicine for Undergraduate Medical Education.Her background includes significant experience working in news and corporate research with a focus on demographic information.

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John Orriola

Asst. Librarian
University of South Florida
Tampa

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