Library Juice Academy

Online Professional Development for Librarians

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

Instructor: Donna Lanclos and Karen Nicholson

Dates: November 2nd through December 20th, 2020

Credits: 2.25 CEUs or 22.5 PDHs

Price: $250


Are you thinking about engaging in research related to your practice or as part of a broader research and scholarship programme? Are you finding it hard to get started? Have you done research in the past and want to think more critically about how to do it next time? This course is designed to facilitate familiarity with exploratory and open-ended qualitative research approaches such as field observation and interviews and the ways that they might be integrated into the work we do in libraries. It is about connecting research methods to questions about people and practices within and around their institutional contexts in order to improve services and gain insight into the library, campus, and/or community as field sites. The course seeks to develop a spirit of inquiry among participants by helping them to check assumptions and ask critical questions. It is structured around readings and a series of activities, reflective and investigative, intended to provide participants with an opportunity to develop a research mindset and gain practice with qualitative research methods and tools.

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • an understanding of the value of ethnographic approaches to assessment and research more broadly within institutional contexts
  • connected research methods to questions about people and practices within and around their institutional contexts
  • engaged with the ethical responsibilities of researchers
  • worked with project outputs such as maps, transcripts, notes, etc.
  • carried out inductive analysis to generate themes from data
  • learned how to generate a codebook of themes
  • become part of a community of practice to share ideas and methods for research projects going forward
Donna Lanclos

Donna Lanclos is an anthropologist who has been working with libraries and higher education as her field site since 2009. Her first fieldwork was in the late 1990s in Northern Ireland, which prepared her well for dealing with the fragmented and fractious landscape of universities, libraries, and conflicting and confounding identities, practices, and priorities therein. She writes, thinks, and speaks about the nature of information, digital and physical places, and higher education generally. Her work is relevant not just to libraries or universities, but to conversations about how we as a society make sure that people have opportunities to learn how to think critically, to practice those skills, and to find their voices. She regularly presents workshops and talks on issues of digital practices and institutional change, and blogs about her work at You can also find her on Twitter, @DonnaLanclos.

Karen Nicholson

Karen Nicholson (PhD, LIS) has been working in Canadian academic libraries for almost twenty years (and struggled with identifying research projects for many of them). She has presented and written about assessment, the value agenda, critical information literacy, and academic librarians' research and scholarship practices in a variety of forums, and has experience with qualitative, mixed, and critical/theoretical research methods. She has served as a facilitator with the ACRL's Information Literacy Immersion Programs (2011-2018) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries' (CARL) Librarians' Research Institute (2020). You can find her at @nicholsonkp and some of her work at

Course Structure

This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.

Payment Info

You can register in this course through the first week of instruction (as long as enrollment is not full). The "Register" button above goes to our credit card payment gateway, which may be used with personal or institutional credit cards. (Be sure to use the appropriate billing address). If you want to pay with Paypal, or if your institution wants us to send a billing statement or wants to send us a purchase order, please contact us by email to make arrangements.