ALIA National 2014 Conference, 15-19 September 2014 Melbourne : together we are stronger
This conference paper discusses how as librarians, most of us have indirectly contributed to a research project – this is often by performing a literature review or advising on citation management. We might have a long-term link with particular members of a research team who seek ongoing assistance during the life of the project, up to preparing their work for publication. However a research team comprising busy academics and clinicians requires many talents to conduct the investigation of a specific hypothesis.
Much of the “production” work is delegated to the project research assistants (RAs). This may include literature searching and synthesis, developing surveys or other data collection materials, recruiting subjects, compiling data and contributing to reports on the findings.
How much overlap is there between health librarian competencies and the functions of the RA in a research team? This paper examines the roles and duties of the research assistant in the “typical” university-based research team. It then compares these with the eight professional competencies identified for health librarians in recent Australian studies. The similarities and gaps between the two are discussed.