Exploring Research Support by Academic Librarians to Faculty Members
This article explored the availability and relevance of research support offered by academic librarians to faculty members within the Colleges of Health Sciences and Basic and Applied Sciences at the University of Ghana, with the background that current technological changes in librarianship have made research support a critical function of academic libraries. Mixed methods research design was adopted for the study. Data was collected from faculty members and academic librarians through self-designed questionnaires and semi-structured interviews respectively. The study concluded that research support activities by academic librarians existed and is seen as very relevant to faculty members. However, in as much as there is an upsurge in technological advancement in academic library services, only the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) was mostly utilised for research support whereas Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI) by academic librarians to faculty, news alerts and list of new arrivals were the least utilised services. It was observed that academic librarians had not utilised the use of social media in communicating research support to faculty members although they had a positive mind-set about its use. Other ways of communicating research support to faculty members were through “ask the librarian” system on university websites, presentations by academic librarians at workshops for faculty members, notices on notice boards and one-on-one interactions. Identified research support needed by faculty members were article request services; training in reference management software such as Mendeley and Endnote; Faculty Research Commons for faculty members alone; effective maintenance and update of the institutional repository and training on the use of electronic databases. The study recommended the need for academic librarians to periodically update their knowledge on current trends of research support as well as ascertain the research needs of faculty members which keep on changing because of technological advancements.