Roger Chabot: Spirituality as an information science

By Martin Nguyen

Roger's hometown: London, Ontario

As a LIS PhD candidate, Roger Chabot hopes his research will change the way people interpret religion and spirituality within information and information science.


When Roger Chabot discovered Buddhism in his teenage years, he never expected his initial curiosity for this religion to play an instrumental role in his academic life.

“Buddhism fascinated me because it allowed me to challenge my mind and thought processes through mediation,” said Chabot.

In grade 11, a quick internet search on the religion led Chabot to a small Buddhist centre run by a monk based in London, Ont. It was there where he learned the intricacies of the religion and started his own personal practice.

Chabot is currently a Library and Information Science (LIS) PhD candidate at Western University’s Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS). He enrolled into the program after successfully obtaining his Master of Library and Information Science degree from FIMS in 2013.

This intensive PhD program offers scholars endless opportunities to make contributions to the emerging world of library and information science through ground-breaking research.

"Information transforms our mind and way of being in the world."
For Chabot, what drew him to the PhD program was the liberty to pursue academic research on a topic he was passionate about: Exploring a relationship between Buddhism and library and information science.

“When I was doing the MLIS program, I saw a connection between library and information science and what I was learning through my Buddhist practice,” Chabot says. He adds that such a concept of combining Buddhist thought with LIS scholarship has never been attempted before.

“That was when the threads started to weave together, making me realize that pursuing the PhD program was my opportunity to make a real contribution to the field.”

Fun Fact

He was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 2015.

Chabot’s research focuses on exploring Buddhism through a critical lens, examining how the religion’s philosophy and psychology can change, critique, and adapt library and information science.

His research found that Buddhist information practices play a pivotal role in the way people practice the religion, as practitioners spend copious time reading and studying, or offering spiritual guidance to others.

“What I learned from my research was how information transforms people’s mind and way of being in the world.”

Chabot credits FIMS for the opportunities he’s been afforded to carry out his research.

“The community here at FIMS has shown me the biggest support. It’s a space where your ideas are allowed to come to a natural fruition.”

Looking ahead, Chabot is hoping to present his research findings at the upcoming Canadian Association for Information Science Conference where he plans to shed light on the impact of religion within library and information science. He will be defending his thesis in April, 2019.

“As a scholar, you continue to make and create knowledge.”


Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.