Doctoral research in library and Information Science by Pakistani professionals: an analysis.

Author:Samdani, Rais Ahmed


Research is a process of enquiry that draws data from the context in which events occur, in an attempt to describe these occurrences, as a means of determining the process in which events are embedded and the perspectives of those participating in the events, using induction to derive possible explanation based on observed phenomena", Gorman & Clayton (2005).

The creation and dissemination of research is central to the growth of any profession. Library and Information Science is no exemption. A considerable amount of emphasis has been placed by many library experts and professionals towards the creation of research culture among LIS community.

Hallam (2005) also emphasized that: "It can be strongly argued that research is critical for the creation of professional knowledge and therefore critical to the survival and growth of the library and information profession. Without a commitment to research, we will not be a profession as such, but merely an occupation that focuses on routine processes" (p. 4).

Doctoral research in library and information science (LIS) in Pakistan was started in 1967 from the University of Karachi. Interview responses indicate that during these five decades, very few LIS professionals got involved in PhD level research activities due to number of factors i.e. inadequate opportunities, poor facilities, lack of any incentive and training for research activities, over-worked and lack of interest from higher authorities, poor status of LIS professionals in the eyes of other faculty members related of other fields in all academic institutions of Pakistan.

Objectives of the Study

The study was designed with the following objectives:

* To determine the growth and research productivity at doctoral level by Pakistani LIS Professionals since 1947 to 2010.

* To explore that how many universities in Pakistan are providing doctoral research in the field of library and information science.

* To know the origin and growth of doctoral programme in LIS in Pakistan

* To prepare a lists of the major areas of research and identifies some arid areas.

* To identify the important and most popular subject areas in the field of LIS research.

Research Methodology

The study attempted to collect data, by means of questionnaire and semi-structured interview techniques. Different established related literature resources on the filed and internet sources were also consulted. Information that could not be obtained through above-stated data collection tools was obtained through personal communication from all the departments of Library and Information Science (LIS) of various universities in Pakistan.

Review of Related Literature

Haider' (1978) gives an overview information about the research activities in LIS in the country. A study by Anwar (1982) provides the information about 275 master-level theses submitted from 1967 to 1975. The purpose was to briefly review the academic research done at Department of Library Science, University of Punjab, Lahore.

Usmani (1987) in his study 'PhD research by Pakistani Librarians' provides abstracts of 11 Ph D dissertations completed by Pakistani library professionals. It shows that ten researchers completed their doctoral study from foreign universities and only one PhD degree was awarded by the University of Karachi, Pakistan. This study showed that the first degree holder was Dr. Abdul Moid who completed his the studies. It pointed out that during the period of 40 years (1947-1987), after the creation of Pakistan only 13 library have received doctorate degree in Library and Information Science. Haider & Mahmood (2007) conducted an in-depth study on MPhil and PhD research in library and information science in Pakistan. It is mainly based on review of the literature and information collected from Library and Information Science (LIS) schools through personal communication. The study pointed out the basic factors and problems that did not allow success in the doctoral programs in LIS in Pakistan. This study was limited to research carried out by the Pakistani universities. Mahmood & Shafiq (2010) studied the changing scenario of research in Pakistan. This study indicated that however research activities have been rapidly increasing in LIS field in Pakistan, but there is still a wide gap between demand and supply of LIS professionals with research experiences. Fatima, Mahmood & Usmani (2004) compiled a list of 855 Library and Information Science research in Pakistani universities. It provides bibliographic information on the master and doctoral theses of LIS submitted to six Pakistani universities 1967 to 2003.

The above-mentioned studies provide useful information, but it was noted that most of the studies are limited to the research carried out in Pakistani universities, these do not give latest information about doctoral studies by Pakistani LIS professionals by foreign universities. Thus, the need for this study was felt in order to explore the current state of affairs regarding PhD research within and outside the country by LIS professionals.

LIS Education in Pakistan

The history of Library and Information Science (LIS) education and training in Pakistan dates back to 1915. An American library expert Dickinson's certificate course was started in the Punjab University Library. According to Khurshid (1997) 'this was first university-based course in the then British Empire'. At the time of independence of Pakistan in August 14, 1947, this course was discontinued and the Library School in University of the Punjab was closed. The real beginning of library and Information Science (LIS) can be traced by the sole efforts of Prof. Dr. Abdul Moid during the period of 1948-1956. Prof. Dr. Abdul Moid, the founder of librarianship in Pakistan was the first who obtainPhD degree in library science from the Illinois University, USA in 1964, (Khurshid 1997). The Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) was established in August 10, 1956 at University of Karachi (UK), and that motivated other universities to start LIS education. The following Table shows the dates of establishment of the department of LIS in various universities in Pakistan.

Doctoral Research in LIS in Pakistan

At present 7 universities from public sector and one from private sector are offering doctoral research programmes in the field of Library and Information Science in Pakistan. Universities of Karachi, Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Peshawar, Islamia university, Bahawalpur and Federal Urdu University, Karachi are in public sector and Hamdard University is from the private sector.

University of Karachi

Doctoral research program in LIS was first started at the Department of LIS, University of Karachi in 1967. During the years 1967 to 1971, five candidates got admission, those were M.Adil Usmani, G. A. Sabzwari, Matloob Hussain, Akhtar H. Siddiqui and Abdul Haleem Chishti. Out of the five students enrolled in this program only M.A.H. Chishti succeeded in completing his thesis and was awarded the degree in 1981. The topic of his research work was "Islamic Libraries: 749 AD-1257AD) (Chishti 1981).

The PhD program at the university of Karachi was revived in 1987 and The second PhD degree was awarded to a senior faculty member of the Department of LIS, Nasim Fatima, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Jamil Jalibi, the then Vice Chancellor of Univeristy of Karachi in 1992. Her topic was "Cataloguing and Standardizations of Urdu Manuscripts" (Fatima, 1995). The third PhD degree was awarded to Munira Nasreen Ansari, under the guidance of Dr.Nisar Zubairi, Professor Department of Mass Communication, UK in 2007. The topic of her study was "Information needs and information seeking behavior of the media practitioners in Pakistan". (Ansari, 2007). The fourth PhD degree was awarded to Shamshad Ahmed in 2009 for his study "A study of library and archival record in Directorate of Sindh Archive Karachi"., (Ahmed, 2009), that was completed under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Nasim Fatima. At present about 8 students are registered for M.Phil/PhD program and the research at doctoral level is in progress.

At present 13 library and information science professionals including seven faculty members have been involved in M.Phil/PhD research. Malahat Kaleem Sherwani: "Interactive role of information generating, handling institutions in Pakistan with special reference to Pakistan", Khawaja Mustafa: "A Model for...

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