Library support and the scholarly information behaviour of Higher Education lecturers in TAFE: a constructivist grounded theory
This study will contribute to understanding how the scholarly information behaviour of Higher Education (HE) lecturers in TAFE institutes that now deliver their own HE courses, are supported by its library. At its core is the move by Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions into HE, and the role of its library in supporting that move. TAFE institutes have traditionally delivered Vocational Education and Training (VET). The move by TAFE institutes into HE delivery demands a level of scholarship absent from VET which has a focus on prescribed programs, compliance and competencies to meet industry standards.
Since 2005, Bachelor degrees have been delivered in both Higher Education (HE) and Vocational Education and Training (VET) sectors. In Victoria, a number of TAFE institutions have offered their own HE qualifications. These emergent or 'niche' degree qualifications are strongly applied and vocational in focus, flexible in their academic structure and delivery, and supportive of non-traditional cohorts of students seeking HE qualifications. A principal institutional requirement of HE accreditation that allows delivery of these qualifications is teacher scholarship. Scholarship involves the exchange of ideas and practices, especially in relation to disciplinary knowledge and is central to Higher Education. Teacher scholarship has generally been absent in TAFE institutes, as their traditional delivery has been based on competency based vocational education and training.
Information behaviour underpins the development of scholarship. The library has a role in supporting the scholarly information behaviour of academic staff. University libraries offer support through services such as liaison librarians, collection development, electronic databases and digital repositories. There is little research about how TAFE libraries support the scholarly information behaviour of HE lecturers in TAFE.
An interpretivist paradigm is proposed for the study. The aim is to explore and describe participant experience in the emergent hybrid post-secondary education sector of HE TAFE. A qualitative research approach using constructivist grounded theory methodology will be used. Participants will include HE lecturers, librarians, research officers and HE department managers. Data will be collected from two major sources: semi structured interviews with participants and documentary analysis. The intended outcome is a constructivist grounded theory of improved understanding of TAFE libraries, lecturer scholarship in VET, scholarly information behaviour of HE lecturers in a non-university context, scholarly and research capability and capacity building in TAFE, and the level of library support in a mixed or hybrid education sector..
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