Not Participating, Not Included: Towards Inclusive Assessment Practices in the Scottish Library Sector


We are delighted to offer an exciting opportunity for a PhD student to work with the University of Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier University, and the National Library of Scotland on an Applied Research Collaborative Studentship funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) for a funded period of 3 years and 6 months (7 years part-time). The studentship will be based at the University of Glasgow and supervised by Dr. Paul Gooding, (Information Studies, University of Glasgow), Dr. David Brazier (Creative and Social Informatics, Edinburgh Napier University), and Amina Shah (National Librarian and CEO, National Library of Scotland). This studentship is open to UK, EU and international applicants. 



This project will develop an “Inclusive Library Assessment Roadmap” for engaging with non-users of library services in Scotland. Scottish Government National Outcomes emphasise connectivity with multiple audiences as a powerful way to tackle inequality. However, there remains a gap in formal library assessment frameworks as they relate to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. The successful student will explore how to engage with, and represent, excluded and non-participant communities when assessing the success of library services in Scotland. It will address the following question: how might we transform assessment practices to include previously under-represented communities in the evaluation and assessment of library services? 

To answer this question, the student will develop a critical framework for library services in Scotland to engage with non-users for the purpose of developing and assessing their services and collections. The student will work with the National Library of Scotland to explore how to reach and work with non-participant communities when assessing library services. They will address questions including: 

  • What is the state-of-the-art in library service assessment, and which communities does it allow libraries to address? 
  • How are Scottish libraries in the academic, public, and national library sectors engaging with non-users of library services, and what assessment practices are undertaken in each sector? 
  • How might we transform sectoral practices to include previously under-represented communities in the evaluation and assessment of library services? 


These questions will be addressed via a two-pronged methodology: 

  1. A structured, in-depth review of existing library assessment frameworks, to assess the extent to which they incorporate and promote inclusive assessment practices. 

  2. Fieldwork in libraries in the academic, public, and national library sectors, to profile existing user bases, identify under-represented communities, record existing methods of service assessment, and undertake expert interviews to identify key challenges in developing inclusive practices across these sectors. 


The resultant findings will be synthesised into an “Inclusive Library Assessment Roadmap” for Scotland. This will represent a significant step in addressing non-users of libraries, and contribute to two discrete but overlapping areas of knowledge: first, it will enhance academic research into library assessment, by assisting the sector to develop new methods and approaches that will diversify library assessment practices; and second, it will provide focused case studies that will allow Scottish libraries to better assess their own EDI and outreach activities, thus enhancing existing library assessment frameworks



To apply, please email Dr. Paul Gooding ( with a CV, covering letter (max. two pages), writing sample (max 3,000 words), scans of qualification certificates/transcripts and two written references by midday on Friday 27th May. Shortlisted candidates will be informed by 8th June and invited to interview on 14th June. We welcome you to get in touch in advance for informal discussions. 



This award is open to everyone who meets the eligible qualifications criteria, whether they are classed as a UK/Home or International student. Further information for international students is available on the University of Glasgow website.  


Eligible Qualifications: 

Doctoral candidates must meet the following excellence criteria: 

  • Hold at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline; 
  • Have completed or be on course to complete a Masters Degree in a relevant discipline and/or demonstrate equivalent, relevant professional experience; 
  • Be able to demonstrate preparedness for the proposed, specific collaborative doctoral project. 
  • Undertake, with the full supervisory team, an assessment of their existing skills and skill needs. 


To be eligible for an award, the successful student will also need to be accepted onto the PhD programme via University of Glasgow Admissions. If your first language is not English, you will also need to demonstrate English language proficiency (further information can be found on the Information Studies website). 


Funding will cover tuition fees at the home/UK rate, and a stipend at the Research Council rate (£16,062 for 2022-23), full-time for 3 years and 6 months (pro-rated for up to 7 years part-time). The College of Arts will waive the difference between the UK and International fees for this studentship, meaning that all students are eligible to have their tuition fees covered in their entirety.