Threshold concepts and core competences in the library and information science (LIS) domain: Methodologies for discovery


  • Virginia M. Tucker San Jose State University



threshold concepts, competences, grounded theory, information professionals, LIS educators, LIS researchers


Researchers have used a variety of methodologies for investigating threshold concepts, and this paper considers these approaches for library and information science (LIS) domains. The focus is on specific benefits of constructivist grounded theory for eliciting evidence of core knowledge, and elements of research design for this purpose are discussed, including the importance of collecting experiences from the learners themselves as well as effective protocols for data gathering and analysis through the use of active tasks and semi-structured interviews. The discussion extends to implications of the research design for how it may be applied to thematic analysis more broadly and to discovering critical knowledge that does not have the characteristics of threshold concepts but which may indicate attributes of core competences in the LIS discipline.

Author Biography

Virginia M. Tucker, San Jose State University

Assistant Professor, School of Information






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