The Research Imperative: The Research Policy Statement of the Medical Library Association
Domains of Research
The context of health information research today is broadening to include not only the health care field but also changes in what the meaning of information is, in how information is procured and used, in how we learn and how we teach, and in what the options for scholarly communication are. In addition, new technologies, the economy, and world events, which significantly affect the environment and public health, drive demand for quality information. An international perspective is required. New roles for librarians are emerging.
In this increasingly complex information landscape, overarching knowledge domains help define the profession. Domains of health sciences librarianship complement the fields of medical informatics, information science, and public health. Questions focused on effectively identifying, contextualizing, synthesizing, sifting, structuring, disseminating, and using information to improve health care are the research problems for health sciences information practitioners.
Domains of knowledge in health sciences librarianship were identified by Koufogiannakis et al. , Banks et al. , Perry et al. , and Dalrymple . These resources, along with the key informant interviews conducted during the background research for this policy include but are not limited to the following domains for health information research:
Domains of knowledge ground the profession and provide the larger context and meaning. They represent the summation of the profession’s work. Continuing to refine these domains and recognizing them in the community of practice helps advance opportunities for understanding the role of the profession and its research strengths. (For examples of the types of real world questions that these domains encompass, see Eldredge .)
The Research Imperative, like MLA's first research policy, is a statement of the values, rationale, and challenges for the role of research in health information practice. The specific research topics of interest to the association are often time-bound and contextually driven. Consequently, identifying specific domains for study is not the objective of this policy statement. However, research topics of high priority to the association may be issued periodically.
5. Eldredge J. The most relevant and answerable research questions facing the practice of health sciences librarianship. Hypothesis 2001;15(1):9–14,17.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 September 14