The Research Toolkit is a starting point for librarians in the health sector wanting to undertake a research project, from a small-scale local study to larger more formal projects

Library professional listening to clinician
Member of the KLS team discussing a research proposal with a clinician

Research skills are a key area of professional expertise in CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base for Health. 

They are defined as “the ability of librarians to use research techniques and knowledge of information sources to support personal research projects.

Before you get started, consider whether your project is a research project, a service evaluation or audit.

  • A research project aims to systematically investigate and study a library service, establish facts and reach new conclusions.
  • An evaluation focuses on the effectiveness of a library service.
  • An audit reviews a library’s service or services, perhaps using a predefined audit tool, to enable improvements to be made.

These resources will help you decide whether your project is a research project:

Health Research Authority. (2017). Defining research table  – a table outlining the key features of research, service evaluation, audit, and usual practice.

Medical Research Council, & NHS Health Research Authority. (2020). Is my study research?  – decision making tool to help you decide whether or not your study is research.

The Research Toolkit is based on a research flowchart originally developed by members of the defunct HEALER Network. 


Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021