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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS023017)

The Effect of the Case Methodin Library and Information Science Education
No.23, p.17-40
Issue date

The purpose of this paper is to clarify the characteristics of library and information science education, and to verify the application of the case method as an efficient educational methodology. In terms of clarifying the effect of the case method, which is not yet established in Japanese library and information science education, the authors carried out an experiment to explore its possibilities.

Case studies in library and information science depend upon their intended purposes. This paper focuses on the instructional case study or case method, and develops its history, definition and characteristics. The case method was introduced into American library schools in the early 1950s, and it appears at present to be well established and widely accepted as a teaching method used for problem-solving in library administration in America. An example of the case method which is practiced in the place of the actual library and information science education is given, and its influence upon students and significance as an educational method are examined. The case method becomes a practical application of the theory that it is the power of thinking and not the acquisition of facts which is the ultimate educational ideal, and holds the view that the objective is to accelerate the learning process and also to short circuit the experience of learning by trial and error on the job. However, the case method as applied to instruction assumes a readiness for basic knowledge and experience in librarianship on the student’s part.

The experiment conducted the authors using the case method indicates the difference of the power of thinking among 3 groups whether they have actual on-the-job experience or not. Group I:5 undergraduate students (3rd year), Group II:5 librarians who have graduated from library school, and Group III:5 graduate students having library experience. These three groups are asked to solve a problem of one case, and then, their analyses are examined from 3 points. As to the results, it is found that the inexperienced Group 1 solves the problem with a narrow power of thinking compared to the experienced Groups II and III. This finding is then considered as basic data and the hypothesis for the purpose of attempting the case method experimentally and then clarifying its effect. Finally, the points at issue in introducing the case method into Japanese library and information science education are examined.

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