The use of librarians as occupational study populations in social science research

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2 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to address the use of librarians as a study population in social science research outside of the field of library and information science. Additionally, it aims to make general claims about how frequently librarians have been studied compared to other occupations, as well as to identify and describe existing research that has used librarians as a study population. Design/methodology/approach - The described study had two parts. Two social science databases were searched using the subject headings “librarians” and eight additional occupations, and the results for all nine occupations were analyzed. The peer-reviewed results for “librarians” were then coded by content. The articles that used librarians as a study population were identified, reviewed and described. Findings - Although librarians, as an occupational group, possess many characteristics that should make them an ideal choice for social science research, they seem to be studied less frequently than other occupations. Research limitations/implications - Other occupational groups, such as mathematicians, were also studied infrequently. Further research might consider, more broadly, why some occupations are studied more frequently than others. Future studies might also compare librarianship to other female-dominated professions, such as nursing and education. Additionally, the subject heading “librarians” was applied to articles that studied non-professional library employees, making it difficult to isolate only articles with a focus on degreed librarians. Originality/value - Few other studies have examined social science research in which librarians are used as the study population. By focusing on how librarians are studied and written about in other fields, this paper will add to the body of literature on the professional image of librarians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
JournalLibrary Review
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Librarians
  • Librarianship
  • Occupations
  • Social science


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