Information technology and the humanities scholar: documenting digital research practices

Lisa M. Given, Rebekah Willson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Digital tools offer new affordances and methodologies to humanities scholars’ research. This paper used a constructivist grounded theory approach to examine humanities scholars’ research practices, including their use of a wide range of resources and digital technologies. Using in-depth, , several themes emerged from the research relating to the role of technology in shaping humanities scholars’ research practices. The themes include: 1) humanities scholars’ research approaches and technology tools; 2) the humanities scholar as tool developer; 3) the role of data preparation as a meta-level research practice; 4) data visualization versus numeric outputs – one size does not fit all; 5) the importance of flexibility and agency; 6) technology tools in support of the researcher as writer; and 7) working alone/working together – technology tools and collaborative practice. The heterogeneous nature of humanities scholars’ research practices are explored and the resulting implications for digital tool design. Two new research practices – tool development and data preparation – are proposed. The diverse digital technologies humanities scholars use support the traditional ways of working within their discipline, as well as creating potential for new scholarly practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-819
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Association for Information Science and Technology
Issue number6
Early online date2 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018


  • humanities research
  • research documentation
  • digital research


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