My research explores professional work and practitioner thinking in library and information science – particularly in the area of reference and information service. I am interested in how practitioners’ thoughts, beliefs and values shape their practice. I am also interested in the diffusion of formal theories into practice and the development of practitioners' informal theories. Below are the research questions that are currently capturing my interest.
How do practitioners conceptualize their work?
Building on my studies of the experience of reference and information service (RIS) for practioners, my current work articulates the varying conceptualizations of RIS across library environments and different cultures. I am currently finishing a paper developed during my sabbatical research in South Africa and Slovenia called "Using Q methodology to understand conflicting conceptualizations of reference and information service". You can read the work that this paper builds on here:
How can we ensure that the profession values and supports BIPOC librarians?
Since my days as a reference librarian, I've been concerned about diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the profession. Ensuring that librarianship values and supports its BIPOC members is important to me. I am currently working with some colleagues on a project to study retention issues in the profession. Previously, I worked with Kawanna Bright on research sponsored by an ALA Diversity Research Grant. You can read that work here:
How do instructors' beliefs about student privacy affect their instructional practices?
I am working with Kyle M. L. Jones to study instructors' thoughts and beliefs about student privacy and how they affect their instructional practices. Our IMLS-funded project, Student Privacy in the Datafied Classroom, is ongoing. Read more about our project here:
How can we encourage the application of formal theories to practice?
LIS practice tends to be driven by best practices, but formal theories and models can provide useful structure for practice. Some of my recent projects explore how theories are being or might be applied. I am currently working with Leslie Thomson and Jenna Hartel on project called "Information and the Lens of Leisure: Needs, Practices, and Resources over the Serious Leisure Career" sponsored by ASIS&T's SIG-USE Elfreda A. Chatman Research Proposal Award. You can read about work in this area here:
Amy VanScoy, MLIS, PhD
Department of Information Science
Graduate School of Education
University at Buffalo
vanscoy @ buffalo.edu