Action Research in the Library: Method, Experiences, and a Significant Case


This article aims to promoting action research in library contexts by illustrating the method and its applications in library, and by presenting a meaningful case.
Action research, devised in 1950s, was spread in information sciences since 1990s, with results that have been interesting in promoting change of involved people and organizations. The method is based on engaging a group coordinated by a researcher. Problem analysis is functional to realizing improvement interventions, in a recursive process of reflection, action, evaluation, and result sharing.
The action research case at the University Milano Bicocca Library is meaningful under various aspects: increase of motivation and awareness in the working group that was responsible of improving the perception of library services; complementary use of quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to analyze users' service utilization and satisfaction; realization of many interventions, coherent with research results, aimed to enhance service usage and perceived quality; self-reflection and reflection on the organizational context, benchmarking with other libraries and assessment of the realized activities in the perspective of continuing improvement; internal sharing and external diffusion of the project to the advantage of librarians, users, and researchers.


Action research; Research methods; Qualitative research; Continuos improvement; Users

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