Gathering Evidence: Current ICT Use and Future Needs for Arts and Humanities Researchers

Principal Investigator: Dr Lesly Huxley, University of Bristol

The project will develop a survey and a small number of in-depth case studies to identify how scholars in arts and humanities departments in UK higher education currently use ICT in their research. We shall explore researchersí access to (and creation of) resources and tools and investigate whether emerging technologies have changed the way research is conducted and disseminated. Experiences and trends will be traced back over a 20-year period providing valuable longitudinal information: a survey carried out by the Office for Humanities Communication 1991/2 and another from 1985. Research design will take account of the structure of these earlier surveys and of the findings of the British Academy survey of research in the humanities and social sciences, amongst others, to avoid duplication of effort.

Project outcomes are intended to inform the AHRCís future ICT strategy by providing a detailed and wide-ranging picture of the current state of ICT-related activity in the UK. The project team will also feed relevant findings back to individual departments and to arts and humanities library and computing support staff in the institutions surveyed, offering them the opportunity to review local provision.

An online survey (with paper option available) will be administered towards the end of 2005 via heads of academic departments in all the subject domains covered by the AHRC remit. Heads of department will have the option to nominate someone else to complete the survey, such as a research director, where applicable. The online survey will be created and analysed initially using Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) software, with more in-depth analysis facilitated through export to SPSS. Where we find practice of particular interest, we will conduct in-depth interviews (no more than six) for inclusion as case studies as an appendix to our main report. Major analysis and report writing will be carried out between February-July 2006 with delivery of a final report at the end of July 2006.

The project team is based at the University of Bristol and comprises:

  • Dr Lesly Huxley, Director, Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) University of Bristol
  • Christine Mullings, Senior Researcher, ILRT
  • Dr Tamar Hodos, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology
  • The project steering group will advise on research design, piloting and review draft project outcomes. Its membership includes:

  • Dr Angela Piccini, PARIP Project, Department of Drama, University of Bristol
  • Dr Jonathan Gibson, English Department, Royal Holloway University of London
  • Dr John Irving, Head of Music Department, University of Bristol
  • Dr Shelley Hales, Classics and Ancient History, University of Bristol
  • Jayne Everard, Service Manager, Artifact, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor David Cowling, Professor of French, University of Durham
  • Sheila Anderson, Director, Arts and Humanities Data Service, Kingís College London
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