Researching the Makerspace

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This weekend I have been reading a bit about research in the information profession.  The majority of studies have a practical basis, often being done in libraries and other organisations, with much of it is encompassed within “practitioner research”.

Practitioner-research is “conducted by an individual or group that assumes a dual role, both as a practitioner or provider of services and as researcher.  It is typically carried out for the purpose of advancing the practice.”

The ARC funded 3 year LISRA (Library and Information Science Research Australia), led by Professor Helen Partridge, is a current project which “aims to encourage and enable research culture and practice within Australia’s library and information profession” If you are interested in finding out more, check out the website.

Having been involved in setting up a makerspace at Curtin Library, I am interested in exploring the role of makerspaces in libraries as an emerging research area in the information profession. I’d like to find out about the kinds of research being done both in the library context and also more broadly in education.

These couple of blog posts are a good starting point:

“Research Roundup: Some Studies on Making and Learning”

The Maker Movement in K-12 Education: A Guide to Emerging Research

I was also excited to come across Agency by Design (AbD), a multiyear research initiative at Project Zero which has produced a white paper with a summary of their findings so far. In describing the studies that have largely characterised makerspace research to date, the white paper argues that:

“Overwhelmingly, the learning outcomes these educators describe have less to do with the development of skills, and more to do with the development of self and community” (p. 3)

In short, skills are by-products of maker-centred learning; that is, they happen along the way. Interestingly, this emphasis on process over skills is the essence of the concept of “digital fluency”.

The relationship between maker-learning and digital fluency is worth exploring further – perhaps therein lies a makerspace research project!


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One Comment

  1. June 8, 2016

    Hey karen – interesting blog post – thankyou. However the “The ARC funded 3 year LISRA (Library and Information Science Research Australia)” website link comes up blank for me.

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