Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



As librarians increasingly engage in quantitative and qualitative methods to assess and improve services and operations, reflective practice provides a means to ensure that results are relevant to the new challenges that libraries face. Although reflective practice, introduced by Donald Schön in 1983, has been widely adopted in education and other professions, there is little evidence of reflective practice in libraries, other than the facilitation of reflection in students.

The library profession would benefit from reflective practice. Libraries now operate in rapidly changing environments, where long-standing practices may no longer achieve desired results. Reflective practice encourages professionals to take a deeper look at the tacit knowledge that underlies actions and decisions, with the goal of developing deeper understanding of their practice and the ability to articulate new professional knowledge.

In this presentation, I offer a model for incorporating reflection in the methodologies used by libraries to generate evidence for decision-making. I will demonstrate how critical reflection in the research process can help identify beliefs, attitudes, or assumptions that underlie the articulation of research questions, the selection of measures or data, and the analysis of results. This model of reflection in a systematic process may help librarians develop a habit of reflection, which could mature into a more general reflective practice.