Reflection on LARK Circles

by | Sep 26, 2023 | LARK Circles | 0 comments

Image of grey library building with glass paneling at the front. People are walking along the street outside the library and there is a clear blue sky in the background with a few clouds.

My name is Becky Scott, I’m an academic librarian in the UK and a member of the first LARK circle. I joined LARK to connect with other librarian-researchers and learn about practitioner experiences in other contexts.

Last year I was part of the RLUK-AHRC-ARMA Research Catalyst programme for academic librarians to develop the knowledge and skills to apply for research funding. That experience taught me the value of peer support and shared learning. As I have just started an AHRC-RLUK Professional Practice Fellowship for academic and research librarians, I hoped LARK would be a safe space to reflect on my experiences as a practitioner-researcher. I was right.

My research aims to explore academic librarians’ personal, social, continuous, and relational experiences of undertaking practitioner research providing a window for the LIS profession to consider their needs and how best they can be met. My method is narrative inquiry. This approach is new to me – both exciting and daunting!

In the first LARK session, I was in the midst of my ethics application. I knew from the experiences of the first AHRC-RLUK fellows that submitting the ethics application before the fellowship starts is advisable. The ethics process for my master’s dissertation was much less involved than for my current research so at times it was a bit overwhelming. Preparing for ethics required details about research data management, the indicative interview questions, sampling methods, the consent form and the participant information sheet. I’m approaching my research as an insider, so the LARK circle was a good place to “think out loud”.

My fellowship has now officially started and I’m thankful to have the experience of Dr. Mary Anne Kennan, Emilia Bell and all the LARK circle members to draw on. In our circle, I feel safe to admit when something has not gone to plan and gain valuable insights into how to unpick my mistakes. I now know I should politely set a deadline for a reply when emailing potential interviewees. A small thing but it helps with organising the recruitment to the study. 

A learning circle between the UK and Australia is a little tricky with the time difference. But getting up early to meet online at 7 a.m. once a month is so worth it. The peer support and shared learning through LARK is helping me navigate my path to researcher-practitioner. 


Further reading:

If you’d like to learn more about narrative inquiry in LIS, I recommend:

Ford, Emily. (2020). “Tell Me Your Story: Narrative Inquiry in LIS Research.” College & Research Libraries, 81(2): 235.

If you want to find out more about insider research and research ethics, then a good place to start is:

Toy-Cronin, Bridgette. (2018). 30: Ethical Issues in Insider-Outsider Research In Iphofen, R., & Tolich, M. (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Ethics, SAGE. London.

Becky Scott is Information Manager for the School of Health and Social Work, University of Hertfordshire, UK

Contact details:

Twitter: @the_bookette



Photo of Becky wearing a blue shirt and smiling towards the camera.


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