Title

Social capital and Library and Information Science research: definitional chaos or coherent research enterprise?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2015

Journal

Information Research

Volume

20

Issue

4

Abstract

Introduction. This paper presents a review of research framed within the concept of social capital and published by Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers.

Method. Ninety-nine papers fitting the criteria of having a specific library and information science orientation were identified from two LIS-focused periodical databases: Library and Information Science and Technology Abstracts (LISTA) and Library Literature.

Analysis. Each of the papers was read to identify which social capital theorists were cited, the research area of the researchers and how social capital was conceptualised and measured.

Results. The review found that although social capital was conceptualised somewhat differently depending on the research focus, social capital, in general, was investigated from either a societal or individual (and sometimes both) perspective and was defined as the benefits derived from both bonding and bridging ties.

Conclusion. Although the conceptualisation of social capital across the various research areas in library and information science has largely converged, there still remain concerns about measurement validity.