Conceptualisation and Practice of Research Support: A Proposed Model for Effective Research Support in Zimbabwean University Libraries
South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science
This paper reports the findings of a study that was carried out to establish the relationship between conceptions held by librarians in Zimbabwean university libraries and practice of research support. Librarians in Zimbabwean universities were seemingly invisible within the orbit of research practices of their institutions. Such ineffective research support in practice is in sharp contrast to conceptions of research support which position librarians as integral to research. To understand the
... To understand the relationship, the study used a conceptual framework developed from the Theory of Action. Eight university libraries were examined and a meta-analysis of findings using the constant comparison method was conducted. Metaclaims were contrived from the eight group studies and this facilitated the juxtaposition of espoused conceptions with actual practices. Although major congruence was found from the constant comparison of meta-claims, the expectations of what the libraries should be doing exceeded what appears in their mission statements. It was concluded that inadequate espoused theories and incongruence in areas such as services, staff deployment, collaboration and training contributed to the ineffectiveness of librarians in support of researchers. The authors present a model for effective research support for academic libraries.