Data Driven Decision Making – LRRT Forum (ALA – 2014)

My former colleague, Jim Church, co-presented a study of what graduate students at Berkeley are citing – they did a study of about 45,000 citations in dissertations in 4 disciplines (poli sci, business, econ, and history) completed between 2008-2012.  They showed a lot of interesting stats about the sources being cited – who was citing monographs, foreign language material, what the median publishing date was for diff disciplines, how many citations the dissertations averaged, etc.  It was a useful way to look at dissertations and graduate level research and stirred up a lot of other kinds of questions. For example, in one of the disciplines, the median age was much older than expected.  This kind of research is not to be undertaken lightly — they got a library grant and were able to hire students to do some of the number crunching, which was labor intensive and took time.  They were too recently finished with the initial analysis to say how all the data would be used.  Still, it was a wonderful example of how to do top quality research that could help to overcome some of “unjustified trust in anecdotal evidence” mentioned by another ALA speaker . . .


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