Making sense of methods – a conversation about qualitative research in library and information studies


  • Edward Francis Abbott-Halpin Leeds Beckett University
  • Antony Bryant Leeds Beckett University



Research, Methods, Grounded Theory, Action Research, Methodological sensitivity


Currently there is an embarrassment of riches with regards to research in areas such as library and information studies [LIS] – a range of possibilities, both qualitative and quantitative – added to which we now have the potential for ‘mixed methods’ and the lure of ‘Big Data’ as a resourced that appears to offer a readily available and potentially fruitful basis for investigative studies. All of this provides a rich body of resources for researchers, but this abundance also has a downside leading to confusion and perplexity. Contributions such as this special issue are intended to resolve and ameliorate this, and so we seek to address some of these issues in the form of an interchange between two researchers with interests that include, but are not limited to, research in LIS. The aim of this is to seek some clarification of key issues involved; although we realize that this is unlikely to provide any definitive outcome, it may assist those seeking some guidance on these matters.

Author Biographies

Edward Francis Abbott-Halpin, Leeds Beckett University

Edward Abbott-Halpin is Professor of Social & Human Rights Informatics at Leeds Beckett University. He has wide experience in supervising and examining research students, and as an active research manager. He has been Chair/President of the Geneva-based human rights information and technology NGO HURIDOCS for a number of years.

Antony Bryant, Leeds Beckett University

Antony Bryant is Professor of Informatics at Leeds Beckett University, with extensive experience in supervising and examining doctoral students across a range of disciplines; also in teaching and writing on research methods and research practice.






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