Dissertation Information for Martha Greer Lawson
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Informal communication patterns among researchers in three library and information science research areas
Abstract: The informal communication pattern and characteristics of research areas for three topics were studied to describe operation and to determine the relationship between informal communication and scientific production. Snowball questionnaires and interviews elicited information from 100 respondents. Major findings were: (1) Subgroups of researchers which were observed upon literature examination did not correspond to actual groups. (2) Research groups developed during the 1970s, when growth peaked for two groups. One group showed continued growth. Job responsibilities and publications were the primary stimuli for entering the research areas. (3) The percentage of respondents who wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on one of the topics ranged from 23% to 45%. (4) The percentage of researchers who considered the topic a principal area of research ranged from 35% to 55%. The percentage of respondents who considered the topic a secondary interest of other researchers ranged from 20% to 27%. (5) Many associations which sponsored programs on research on the various topics were identified. The percentage of program attendees ranged from 40% to 59%. No research prizes were identified. (6) Current researchers on a topic were generally similar to the overall group of respondents. (7) The informal communication networks varied in size from 32 to 60 members and in degree of organization from low to high. (8) The number of communication relationships of current researchers ranged from 4.1 to 6.7 for the topics. (9) The informal communication networks consisted of a small number of active researchers and a large number of individuals on the periphery and the number of central scientists ranged from zero to nine. (10) None of the informal communication networks met the criteria for invisible colleges. (11) Geographical proximity ranged from low to moderate. Percentage of shared institutional affiliation ranged from 0% to 60%. Current researchers were primarily library educators and practitioners. (12) For the groups, percentage of informal contacts ranged from 60% to 86% and percentage of formal contacts ranged from 14% to 40%. (13) Current researchers participated in a wide variety of scholarly production with little congruence among research areas. (14) The number of publications ranged from 0.06 to 0.27 per researcher for books and 0.5 to 1.0 per researcher for articles.
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