Dear Social Science Researchers…

This is why the hard science wonks don’t take you seriously. Excerpted from a case study I was required to read recently on what drives change  in academic libraries:

“As a case study of a single institution, many researchers would argue that its results cannot be generalized. That stand has been challenged by a proponent of case studies, Robert K. Yin, who maintains that such studies may be generalized to a theoretical framework and bolstered through multiple cases within a study.”

“The methodology chosen to test these hypotheses was a case study drawing together both qualitative and quantitative forms of research to examine one organization and the departments within it as units of study. Qualitative data, drawn from interviews, were coded, classified, and measured against the model and process through explanation-building and a search for rival explanations.”

“Results
1. How does organizational learning occur in a given university library today, and how does it contribute to the innovation process? Fourteen vehicles for organizational learning were identified from the remarks of those interviewed:

•formal training;
•informal training;
•formal communication;
•informal communication;
•team revelation or learning;
• organizational structure;
•the personnel system;
•planning;
•professional involvement;
•new technology;
•reading;
• exposure to a new perspective on one’s position;
•leadership and initiative;
•internal and external stimuli.”

I’m aware that a large part of academia involves stating the obvious, preferably after having quantified it; the Beloved Wife has made sure that I know how it works. But still.

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