post-it note array of early neighborhood book exchange questions.

On the value of exploratory research

I don’t know whether neighborhood book exchanges live up to the claims of providing ‘icebreakers’ or ‘literary watercoolers’ for passersby. But I do know that inventorying a book exchange in the early morning rain tends to prompt conversation—at least the “what are you doing?” variety.

After explaining that I was contributing to a study of neighborhood book exchanges, most left it at that. But several probed further: “what’s your hypothesis?”

My answer, ”It’s not that kind of research. It’s exploratory.”, was always received with dubious or dismissive looks.

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Research Digest: The Rise of Neighborhood Book Exchanges

There is something striking in stumbling upon a small hutch perched by the sidewalk and filled with books. It is unexpected, unusual, charming.

Recently, these neighborhood book exchanges have captivated mainstream media; hundreds of media stories have been published in the last few years. But neighborhood book exchanges have been quietly propagating through North American neighborhoods for twenty years, at least. Why have they suddenly captured so much attention?

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Collection of research journals

Research Digest: Article Submissions & Resubmissions

When seeking to publish a research article, researchers are vying to maximize the visibility and impact of their work. But they must also conceded to pressures to publish. It can be costly in both time and resources to apply for publication. Researchers must seek venues that are likely to publish their work, but that offer the highest attainable visibility.

The strategies and priorities guiding how researchers apply for publication has not been widely studied. In 2009, I joined a team of researchers interested in investigating this process.

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