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ALA Annual Conference, 2022


What do graduate students think research is? How do they come to be scholars and how can we as information professionals better support their needs?

Using a drawing exercise rooted in visual research methods (Hartel, 2017; Doucette & Hoffman, 2019; Bryans & Mavin, 2006), a cross-institutional research team in the United States and Canada explore these questions through an interview-based study of graduate student perceptions of research.

At present, the existing body of knowledge examining student perceptions of research strongly focuses on undergraduates (Griffioen, 2019; Insua et al., 2018), leaving a critical gap in theory and pedagogy needed to support students at the graduate level. This research begins to fill that need, establishing a methodological framework for such study and identifying findings to impact librarian practice. Early findings indicate that graduate student research experiences are rich and varied (Wessels et al., 2018). While some graduate students come to their studies have long conceptualized themselves as researchers, others are still grappling with that identity. While engagement with their supervisor is critical (lde, 2008), they also need support from others within the higher education space, including peers, librarians and members of their committees.

Using a combination of active learning and presentation of research findings, the attendees will discover how their own perceptions of research reflect or differ from those of their graduate students.


Bryans, P., & Mavin, S. (2006). Visual images: A technique to surface conceptions of research and researchers. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 1(2), 113–128.

Doucette, L., & Hoffmann, K. (2019). Conceptions of Research Among Academic Librarians and Archivists. Canadian Journal of Academic Librarianship, 5, 1–25.

Griffioen, D. M. E. (2019). The influence of undergraduate students’ research attitudes on their intentions for research usage in their future professional practice. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 56(2), 162-172.

Hartel, J. (2017). Adventures in Visual Analysis. The Visual Methodologies Journal, 5(1), 80–91.

lde, C. M. (2008). Applying lessons from professional education to the preparation of the professorate. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2008(113), 17-25.

Insua, G. M., Lantz, C., & Armstrong, A. (2018). Navigating roadblocks: First-year writing challenge through the lens of the ACRL "framework". Communications in Information Literacy, 12(2), 86-106.

Wessels, I., Rueß, J., Jenßen, L., Gess, C., & Deicke, W. (2018). Beyond cognition: Experts’ views on affective-motivational research dispositions in the social sciences. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.

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All illustrations are photographs of original drawings/diagrams created by participants in this study. Participants own the copyright to their drawings/diagrams and the research team has consent from research participants to use the photos of drawings/diagrams. This applies to all of the participant drawings you will see throughout this presentation.


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