OBJECTIVE: This study analyzed trends in research activity as represented in the published research in the leading peer-reviewed professional journal for health sciences librarianship.
METHODOLOGY: Research articles were identified from the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and Journal of the Medical Library Association (1991-2007). Using content analysis and bibliometric techniques, data were collected for each article on the (1) subject, (2) research method, (3) analytical technique used, (4) number of authors, (5) number of citations, (6) first author affiliation, and (7) funding source. The results were compared to a previous study, covering the period 1966 to 1990, to identify changes over time.
RESULTS: Of the 930 articles examined, 474 (51%) were identified as research articles. Survey (n = 174, 37.1%) was the most common methodology employed, quantitative descriptive statistics (n = 298, 63.5%) the most used analytical technique, and applied topics (n = 332, 70%) the most common type of subject studied. The majority of first authors were associated with an academic health sciences library (n = 264, 55.7%). Only 27.4% (n = 130) of studies identified a funding source.
CONCLUSION: This study's findings demonstrate that progress is being made in health sciences librarianship research. There is, however, room for improvement in terms of research methodologies used, proportion of applied versus theoretical research, and elimination of barriers to conducting research for practicing librarians.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/judith_nordberg/1/