Research & Development
As the “digital revolution” continues, records and information management (RIM) continues to undergo changes of unprecedented magnitude and velocity. This is due to the impact of new, faster computers; improved and more advanced technology and storage capacities; the Internet and its influence on how users seek and use information; the changing needs and expectations of practitioners and customers; information privacy and security issues; and the rapid restructuring of organizations that is often brought about by mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures.
These rapid technological and organizational changes rigorously affect how records and the information contained therein are created, maintained, retained, and dispositioned. They also often preclude thoughtful analysis to understand their practical consequences and frequently outpace RIM’s ability to address the related problems and responsibilities.
These global challenges underscore the pressing need to develop knowledge, policies, and procedures that not only impact RIM practices but can be leveraged to address strategic information governance challenges and initiatives. Research is critical to forming the basis for new approaches and products and to identify new and evolving best practices.
Research Program Provides Solutions
Research – defined for this purpose as “the diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, and applications” – is the primary mission of the ARMA International Educational Foundation (AIEF). Its core purpose is to generate and fund resources for education and research to facilitate development of scholarly and practical knowledge in RIM and to effect positive change in how people access, use, and understand records and information.
Through its funding activities, AIEF is the leading non-profit supporter of the RIM community’s efforts to address contemporary challenges. With its carefully considered research priorities, the AIEF strives to fund projects that will make a difference in the RIM field – discovering and presenting unique or expanded knowledge, aiding in maximizing the value of RIM, and making a positive contribution to the global perception of the RIM profession.
The AIEF expects the research program to not only act as a catalyst in the evolution of RIM best practices, but to also address multiple professional audiences dealing with RIM in their organizations. It looks to fund the types of research projects briefly described below that will advance the RIM professional, the practice of records management, and the profession itself:
- Theoretical Research: Information gathered from individuals about demographics, preferences, values, and needs to provide for improved products and services to the RIM profession and its stakeholders
- Empirical Research: Primary research commonly conducted by graduate students or in environments influenced by academia
- Business and Industry Trends and Best Practices: Studies on common practices, as well as best practices, in business that affect the RIM professional and/or the profession
- Environmental Scanning: Data collection on business, political, economic, social, and technological trends that affect the RIM industry
Research Program Strategy Defined
The foundation’s research program recognizes the current status of the body of knowledge and practice that informs the RIM field, anticipates where it is headed, and determines what the AIEF can do to support RIM issues, challenges, questions, opportunities, and/or possibilities. It seeks to support research that addressing key issues and practical approaches that will add to the knowledge base and enhance the ability of practitioners to address their professional responsibilities. Its strategy is to:
- Maintain a prioritized research agenda to guide the funding of projects to be executed by qualified researchers
- Form alliances with other RIM research-funding bodies and fund, publish, and disseminate research with them
- Fund, publish, and disseminate research executed by qualified individuals
Research Project Application Process
The AIEF research project process is as follows:
- A Research Project Proposal form, resume/CV and cover statement about why you are qualified must be completed and submitted to the Foundation Research Committee for consideration.
Research Project Proposal Form
- Research Topic Proposal Form
- The Research Steering Committee (RSC) will review all research project application submissions and – as funding is available – select proposals based on its guidelines and the funding priorities for the research agenda.
- The AIEF will post on its website an open call for researchers with a response deadline.
- The RSC will determine the most qualified researcher for the project from among the project applicants.
- A researcher will be contracted to conduct the research.
- The research end product will be made available in one or more appropriate formats on the AIEF website at no charge.