Faculty Research Practices in Civil and Environmental Engineering: Insights from a Qualitative Study Designed to Inform Research Support Services
Smith, Erin M.
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This qualitative study analyzes and reports on in-depth interviews with eight faculty from the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. This project is part of a larger series of studies from Ithaka S+R on the research support needs of scholars by discipline. Ithaka S+R provided guidance on research methodology and data analysis.The goal of the study was to better understand the overall and day to day research practices of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) faculty to inform priorities and needs for research support services. The interviewees represented different career levels (Assistant, Associate, and full Professor) with at least one being from each of the Virginia Tech CEE department’s five fields of focus. Findings address five thematic areas from the interview transcripts: research, collaboration, data practices, information discovery and management, and research communication and dissemination. Implications identify four major support needs and service opportunities: supporting faculty goals to share more of their work in open access venues, supporting use of Google Scholar as a major research tool, data education and services for all - from students to faculty, and the continuing importance of student training in information source evaluation and critical appraisal.
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