Institute Overview

"IRDL was a powerful experience that connected me with other like-minded librarians who are passionate about research. The two-week training empowered me to return to work with solid foundational skills in conducting quantitative and qualitative research. As a result of participating in this institute, I feel more confident in approaching research issues and seeking out new approaches to problem solving." — 2015 IRDL Scholar

Academic and research librarians and their institutions derive well-established benefits from librarians conducting research: progress toward gaining promotion, tenure, and higher salaries; advancement in the profession and recognition; receptivity to change; increased skill in managing complex library operations through systematic study; and better service to and empathy with faculty researchers. We know, however, that these librarians may not be well positioned to conduct research, resulting from any number of barriers. We aim to remove some of the noted barriers (reported lack of time to complete a research project, unfamiliarity with the research process, lack of support for research (both moral and monetary), lack of confidence, discouraging jargon, inadequate education in research methods) with the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL).

This Institute is designed to bring together a diverse group of academic and research librarians who are motivated and enthusiastic about conducting research but need additional training and/or other support to perform the steps successfully. During the Summer Research Workshop held annually in the summer, participants will receive expert instruction in social science research methods and design, with small-group and one-on-one assistance in writing and revising their own draft research proposals. In the following year, participants will receive one-on-one formal mentoring and ongoing peer support in conducting their research and preparing the results for publication or presentations.

See also: Eligibility Requirements


As an Institute Scholar you can expect to:

  • Participate in programmatic assessment activities.
  • Revise your research proposal after the workshop.
  • Participate in the online community of Scholars that will support Institute participants after the summer workshop has ended. The goal of this community is to help me to continue the development of your research proposal and conduct your research.
  • Work with a research mentor throughout the year, who will provide one-on-one advice and assistance in completing your research study.
  • Participate in research about the Institute and about your experience as an Institute participant. This research is designed to improve the Institute and help create a sustainable model for future Institutes like this one. The requests for your participation may come via email or online discussion forum.
  • Choose to act as a mentor for future Scholars by participating in alumni events when they are held in your area or at a conference you attend, as well as continuing to participate in the online forum begun while you were enrolled in the Institute.
  • Meet online monthly using conference software, to update your IRDL peers on the status of your research project, as well as to offer support to the others conducting their research.
  • Report periodically to the Program Directors, to update the Institute on any research activities you have undertaken or completed, including any presentations or publications resulting from your research.
  • Have your photograph placed on Institute web spaces as well as in printed and online reports. Your photograph may be taken in posed and candid shots during the summer workshop.

Application Procedures

Applications for the Institute for Research Design in Librarianship (IRDL) are accepted through the IRDL Digital Commons website ( Applications for IRDL are accepted from December 1, 2023 to January 26, 2024. To submit an application to be considered as an Institute Scholar, please be sure to thoroughly review the information and directions posted on our Prepare Your Proposal page.

We will notify selected scholars in early March 2024.

Additional Benefits

Scholars will establish a personal learning network, aimed at providing ongoing support beyond their year as an Institute Scholar, offering them the mentoring and motivation they need to be successful researchers, providing benefits to both themselves and to their institutions. Therefore, Institute Scholars receive a number of benefits in addition to their scholarship funds, these include:

  • Formal and informal mentoring opportunities.
  • Access to colleagues via an online community.
  • Networking with other Institute Scholars and library researchers.