An exploratory prioritisation of key elements in library and information science practicum supervision: A grounded theory approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The importance of gaining practical experience through experiential learning programs such as practicums has long been recognised in Library and Information Science (LIS) education. Library schools oversee the placement of their students while students work at the workplace to gain practical work experience. It is, however, the library professional who guides the students and supervises the practicum process. While research indicates that practicum is a key academic activity to prepare new LIS graduates to assume the role of a professional, supervision constitutes one of the major components of this academic activity. (Khan & Qayyum, 2019).
The purpose of this study was to investigate practicum supervision in LIS settings. Specially, the study explored understandings and experiences of supervisors and students about practicum supervision in the field of LIS. A qualitative approach was used to answer the research question: How do supervisors and students perceive, understand, and experience practicum supervision in the field of library and information science? Interviews were conducted with participants and Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT) method was used for data gathering and analysis.
Results of this study are based on moving back and forth between empirical data to conceptualise the emerging themes, which resulted in developing key elements of the substantive theory using the tenets of CGT. Findings of this study represented three key aspects of LIS practicum supervision. First, the study provided narratives and descriptions around different functions of practicum supervision to clearly articulate the role of a supervisor. Second, the study revealed different supervisory approaches to illustrate the supervision style of a practicum supervisor. Third, the study derived a range of functional and foundational competencies required for LIS practicum supervision.
Implications of the findings of this study are directly applicable to scholarship and practice in LIS. For example, the study provided theoretical knowledge on supervisory functions which, in turn, are essential for practicing librarians to understand their role as a practicum supervisor. Library associations may benefit from this knowledge on practicum supervision styles and competencies in designing capacity building programs specifically for supervisors. Moreover, the results of this study may foster industry-academia relationships by bridging gaps in any discussions between the LIS teachers and practitioners on gaining maximum benefit from the practicums.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Information Management
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Qayyum, Asim, Principal Supervisor
  • Hider, Philip, Co-Supervisor
  • Mahony, Linda, Co-Supervisor
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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