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An early decision was to situate this thesis within the domain of exploratory and descriptive research, rather than that of field studies and field experiments or experimental-causal research. This was because what underlay the research questions was an attempt to gauge trends on a large scale and to examine merging specific initiatives. Such an exercise lent itself better to descriptive research. Much of this descriptive work was based on survey results, but some relied on case study work to do with specific library initiatives. Despite the overall descriptive focus, the work to do with establishing relationships between variables in the survey section (see 7.3: Survey Results on page 113) should be viewed as analytical [Jones, 1991].
Carrying out field studies on a global scale would have been both extremely difficult to arrange and very expensive. It would be very hard to recruit other sites and ensuring consistency in data collection would pose problems. Experimental/causal research would also face significant practical difficulties if carried out at multiple sites. In addition, it would be necessary to identify a possible type of experiment that would yield useful results. The author is unaware of any such studies either completed or planned.
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