Research Proust – Martin Morris

McGill Librarian Researcher Proust Questionnaire

The Researcher Proust Questionnaire is a new twist on the Library Matters librarian questionnaire. The goals of the Researcher Proust are to share information about the current research interests of library staff and to provide you with a forum to find potential collaborators. Plus, we’re interested in what you’re doing!


 Name  Martin Morris
 Job Title  Liaison Librarian
 Library  Life Sciences Library
What research are you currently working on? I am currently working with a colleague at the University of Illinois to put together a questionnaire survey investigating the health information seeking behaviours of LGBTQ health professionals.  An initial survey investigating this was conducted 10 years ago but, to date, no significant follow up has taken place and I am keen to look at this area in more detail.  I am particularly keen to see whether perceptions and attitudes have changed.
Are there any themes to your research projects? If yes, then what are they?  My previous project looked at the use of social software by UK public libraries as a tool for outreach, so it appears that I have an interest in human behaviour and attitudes, and how they intersect with information studies or library practice. The methodologies for my first two projects have clear links to grounded theory, with a certain amount of numerical analysis of questionnaire results and I think it is likely that this will continue in at least some of my future projects. I certainly enjoy taking an area which is either new or neglected, gathering as much information as I can about it, and seeing what results come out of an analysis.
What do you enjoy the most about conducting research? I seem to really enjoy waiting for results to come in, and finding out what sort of picture they paint.  My previous project also gave me the chance to meet and interact with fascinating people in the library world and I am hoping that my current project will give me the same opportunity. I also enjoy learning about new theoretical frameworks that may be applicable to research results; my last project used Diffusion of Innovations (DI) Theory, which I have since found can be applied to many other areas of life.
What do you find the most challenging about conducting research? I think I would say I find two things challenging. I tend to have the kind of mind that is good at thinking up new ideas and directions, but which sometimes has to work a little harder at the implementation and planning sides of projects. I am also currently noticing that it is best to focus on one project at a time rather than starting several things at once!
What is your dream research project? Since I moved to Canada 18 months ago I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of people who are involved in work with the Inuit, including health professionals working in Nunavut. A project looking at health information targeted at Inuit communities, how this information is adopted and accepted by those communities, including a consideration of telehealth initiatives, and combined with an analysis using DI theory, would be a complete joy.  It would also be fascinating to look at how Inuktitut and its culture affect the ability of non-speakers to communicate health information.
Are you looking for research collaborators? If yes, then what skills or traits would you like those collaborators to have? Yes.  I’m at a fairly early stage in research and I have so far found it very valuable to be able to kick ideas around and explore potential issues in depth with more experienced colleagues.  It helps me get a bigger picture of the area that I’m looking into, and also ensures that the research is more likely to be successful and helpful.  A good pairing would be with someone who has good statistical skills, a broader knowledge of libraries than me (I got my MSc in 2009 so I consider myself still fairly new to the library world) and who isn’t afraid of cordial but lively discussions.
Where have you published and where would you like to publish? I am yet to formally publish any library research (the last project I did was for my MSc in Library and Info Studies).  I am hoping that the project I am currently working on will be of interest to the Journal of the Medical Library Association.
What learning opportunity did you find the most valuable for improving your research skills? I very recently attended a workshop as part of the ASIST Annual Convention, which looked at emerging methodologies to investigate information use and information seeking behaviour.  This included novel uses of art and photography amongst other methods and I found that I was excited by the possibilities that this opened.
Which research skill(s) would you still like to improve? More advanced statistical analysis of data and cross coding of qualitative data.
What research skill(s) are you the most proud of? I have found that I am naturally quite skilled in conducting interviews and building rapport with interviewees and have been able to use this skill to get valuable information.
If you had to describe your experiences conducting research in one word, what would it be? Am I allowed “horizon-broadening”?


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