A Qualitative Study of Social Sciences Faculty Research Workflows

Sharon Ince, Christopher Hoadley, Paul A. Kirschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper is a qualitative study of how social sciences faculty construct their research workflows with the help of technological tools. The purpose of this study is to examine faculty scholarly workflows and how both tools and practices support the research process. This paper could inform academic libraries on how to support scholars throughout the research process. Design/methodology/approach: This is a qualitative study case study of ten faculty members from six research universities from the United States and Canada. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and recorded. Atlas.ti was used to code and analyze the transcripts; each participant was a separate case. Descriptive coding was used to identify digital tools used for collaboration; process and descriptive coding was utilized to examine practices in scholarly workflows. Findings: Through case study analysis the results of this study include the role of technology in faculty research workflows. Each workflow was grouped into four categories: information literacy, information management, knowledge management, and scholarly communication. The findings included scholars creating simple workflows for efficiency and collaboration and utilizing workarounds. Research limitations/implications: The study did not observe faculty in the process of doing research and, thus, only reports on what the researchers say that they do. Originality/value: The research is unique in that there is almost no research on how social scientists conduct their research workflows and the affordances/impasses of this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1337
JournalJournal of Documentation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 4 2022


  • Faculty
  • Information literacy
  • Information management
  • Knowledge management
  • Research workflows
  • Scholarly communications
  • Search
  • Social sciences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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