Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date




Conference Name

IFLA WLIC 2015 Cape Town, South Africa


Thomas Cook, a renowned causal research expert and professor of sociology, psychology, education, and social policy at Northwestern University (USA), called for school library researchers to parallel causality determination efforts in health-related fields. In this paper, we respond to Dr. Cook’s challenge with a proposed research design centered on Mixed Research Synthesis (MRS) as part of process validated by the U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation’s Common Guidelines for Education Research and Development. MRS studies, often used in nursing and public health research to develop causal theories, enable researchers to develop evidence summaries; identify and adjudicate rival and companion theories, and determine the active ingredients and weak links in the implementation chain of interventions, programs, and policies. MRS is the essential first step in a possible ongoing multi-phased research agenda designed to progress from theory building to theory testing to causal determination. In addition to building on and extending school librarianship’s heritage in replicated correlational research and strong affective value, the researchers’ proposed MRS implementation will test the usefulness of a technique that has never been used in school settings and will provide a useful entry point for researchers concerned with other types of libraries.


Copyright © 2015 by M.A. Mardis, S.K. Norton, G.K. Dickinson, S. Pribesh, A. Cline, S. Kimmel, & J. Howard.

This work is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


0000-0001-9157-3493 (Pribesh), 0000-0002-4341-3679 (Kimmel)

Original Publication Citation

Mardis, M. A., Norton, S. K., Dickinson, G. K., Pribesh, S., Cline, A., Kimmel, S., & Howard, J. (2015). Creating a foundation for the causal relationship between libraries and learning: A proposed application of nursing and public health research methods. Paper presented at the IFLA WLIC 2015, Cape Town, South Africa.