Published: March 8, 2018

In 2017, the University of Colorado Libraries participated in a national research project on developing research practices in the field of Asian Studies. Xiang Li, the Chinese and Asian Studies Librarian at CU, was kind enough to share the results of this study with us recently. 

Examining Research Practices of Asian Studies Scholars 

In 2017, the University of Colorado (CU) Libraries participated in a nationally-coordinated research project Research Support Services for the Field of Asian Studies. The goals of this project were to examine the changing research practices of Asian Studies scholars and to better understand the resources and services Asian Studies scholars need to be successful in their research. 

This project, based on qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, is one of a series of studies in Ithaka S+R’s Research Support Services program that investigates the research support needs of scholars by their disciplines. Previous projects in the program explored history, chemistry, art history, agriculture, religious studies and public health. Asian Studies is the most recent field to be examined in the program. 

The project on the field of Asian Studies had a cohort of eleven participating universities: Arizona State University, Claremont Colleges, Harvard University, Indiana University, Lafayette University, Trinity University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Maryland College Park, University of Texas Austin, and University of Washington.

From April to June 2017, twelve Asian Studies scholars at CU were interviewed about their research focus and methods, experiences in information access and discovery, dissemination practices, and opinion on the state of the field. All of the in-person interviews were conducted and recorded by a single investigator, Xiang Li, the Chinese & Asian Studies Librarian at CU Libraries. Once collected and transcribed, the interview data were categorized and analyzed by using thematic analysis toward a local report, which can be found This report highlights key findings from the interviews and provides recommendations for improving library support for Asian Studies scholars at CU.

Anonymized interview data from all participating universities were submitted to Ithaka S+R for analysis. The collected data will be used to form a capstone report on the state of the Asian Studies field, which will be made publicly available soon. The national report and all local reports will be published in an open access format, with links available on the Ithaka S+R website

Written by Xiang Li, Assistant Professor and Chinese & Asian Studies Librarian at CU Boulder.