Becoming colleagues: The experiences of doctoral research fellows in practice settings
The IMLS-funded TRLN Doctoral Fellows Program supports doctoral candidates interested in teaching and research in academic librarianship, combining doctoral coursework with a research assignment in one of the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) libraries; fellows are mentored by senior academic library administrators. Rationale for the program also includes the need to help alleviate known boundaries between research and practice settings.
Purpose/Objective of Study: Our questions are whether the fellowship experience ameliorates well-documented barriers between research and practice, and how the two cultures mesh, clash, and/or benefit one another in mentoring future faculty and research in LIS.
Sample and Setting: Two new doctoral fellows, one with 20 years of experience in libraries, and the other, a former National Library of Medicine Fellow, were placed in two large academic health science libraries.
Method (Qualitative, quantitative, historical, etc): This study uses qualitative methods to retrospectively examine the fellowship experience, with particular focus on issues of access to practice settings, and the alignment between doctoral research - and workplace-related demands.
Results: The authors believe that their experiences will add to the administrative knowledge base about similar programs, enhancing planning capabilities, and also help to inform other library students who may be contemplating a PhD.