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Translator:

Kosmos
Astronomia Astrofizyka
Inne

Kultura
Sztuka dawna i współczesna, muzea i kolekcje

Metoda
Metodologia nauk, Matematyka, Filozofia, Miary i wagi, Pomiary

Materia
Substancje, reakcje, energia
Fizyka, chemia i inżynieria materiałowa

Człowiek
Antropologia kulturowa Socjologia Psychologia Zdrowie i medycyna

Wizje
Przewidywania Kosmologia Religie Ideologia Polityka

Ziemia
Geologia, geofizyka, geochemia, środowisko przyrodnicze

Życie
Biologia, biologia molekularna i genetyka

Cyberprzestrzeń
Technologia cyberprzestrzeni, cyberkultura, media i komunikacja

Działalność
Wiadomości | Gospodarka, biznes, zarządzanie, ekonomia

Technologie
Budownictwo, energetyka, transport, wytwarzanie, technologie informacyjne

Evidence Based Library and Information Practice

Abstract Objective – This study was designed to assess users' reactions to two newly re-designed spaces – one intended for quiet study and the other for group study – in the busiest library branch of a large research university. The researchers sought to answer the following questions: For which activity (group work, quiet study, and lounging or relaxing) do the users feel the space is most effective? Which furniture pieces do users prefer and for which activities? How are these spaces being used? Methods – Researchers used a mixed-methods approach for this study. Two methods – surveys and comment boards – were used to gather user feedback on preference for use of the space and users’ feelings about particular furniture types. A third method – observation – was used to determine which of the particular areas and furniture pieces occupants were using most, for which activities the furniture was most commonly used, and what types of possessions occupants most often carried with them. Results – User opinion indicated that each of the spaces assessed was most effective for the type of activity for which it was designed. Of the 80% of respondents that indicated they would use the quiet study space for quiet study, 91% indicated that the space was either "very effective" or "effective" for that purpose. The survey results also indicated that 47% of the respondents would use the group study space for that purpose. The observation data confirmed that the quiet study space was being used primarily for individual study; however, the data for the group study space showed equal levels of use for individual and group study. Users expressed a preference for traditional furniture, such as tables and desk chairs, over comfortable pieces for group work and for quiet study. One exception was a cushioned reading chair that was the preferred item for quiet study in 23% of the responses. The white boards were chosen as a preferred item for group study by 27% of respondents. The observations showed similar results for group study, with the three table types and the desk chair being used most often. The lounge chairs and couch grouping was used most often for individual study, followed by the tables and desk chairs. Conclusion – By combining user feedback gathered through surveys and comment boards with usage patterns determined via observation data, the researchers were able to answer the questions for which their assessment was designed. Results were analyzed to compare user-stated preferences with actual behaviour and were used to make future design decisions for other library spaces. Although the results of this study are institutionally specific, the methodology could be successfully applied in other library settings.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21810 2014/09/17 - 03:25

Abstract Objective – To identify estimates of time taken to search grey literature in support of health sciences systematic reviews and to identify searcher or systematic review characteristics that may impact resource selection or time spent searching. Methods – A survey was electronically distributed to searchers embarking on a new systematic review. Characteristics of the searcher and systematic review were collected along with time spent searching and what resources were searched. Time and resources were tabulated and resources were categorized as grey or non-grey. Data was analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis tests. Results – Out of 81 original respondents, 21% followed through with completion of the surveys in their entirety. The median time spent searching all resources was 471 minutes, and of those a median of 85 minutes were spent searching grey literature. The median number of resources used in a systematic review search was four and the median number of grey literature sources searched was two. The amount of time spent searching was influenced by whether the systematic review was grant funded. Additionally, the number of resources searched was impacted by institution type and whether systematic review training was received. Conclusions – This study characterized the amount of time for conducting systematic review searches including searching the grey literature, in addition to the number and types of resources used. This may aid searchers in planning their time, along with providing benchmark information for future studies. This paper contributes by quantifying current grey literature search patterns and associating them with searcher and review characteristics. Further discussion and research into the search approach for grey literature in support of systematic reviews is encouraged.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/20629 2014/09/17 - 03:25

Abstract Objective – To test whether routinely-generated library usage data could be linked with information about students to understand patterns of library use among students from different disciplines at the University of Huddersfield. This information is important for librarians seeking to demonstrate the value of the library, and to ensure that they are providing services which meet user needs. The study seeks to join two strands of library user research which until now have been kept rather separate – an interest in disciplinary differences in usage, and a methodology which involves large-scale routinely-generated data. Methods – The study uses anonymized data about individual students derived from two sources: routinely-generated data on various dimensions of physical and electronic library resource usage, and information from the student registry on the course studied by each student. Courses were aggregated at a subject and then disciplinary level. Kruskal-Wallis and Mann Whitney tests were used to identify statistically significant differences between the high-level disciplinary groups, and within each disciplinary group at the subject level. Results – The study identifies a number of statistically significant differences on various dimensions of usage between both high-level disciplinary groupings and lower subject-level groupings. In some cases, differences are not the same as those observed in earlier studies, reflecting distinctive usage patterns and differences in the way that disciplines or subjects are defined and organised. While music students at Huddersfield are heavy library users within the arts subject-level grouping arts students use library resources less than those in social science disciplines, contradicting findings from studies at other institutions, Computing and engineering students were relatively similar, although computing students were more likely to download PDFs, and engineering students were more likely to use the physical library. Conclusion – The technique introduced in this study represents an effective way of understanding distinctive usage patterns at an individual institution. There may be potential to aggregate findings across several institutions to help universities benchmark their own performance and usage; this would require a degree of collaboration and standardisation. This study found that students in certain disciplines at Huddersfield use the library in different ways to students in those same disciplines at other institutions. Further investigation is needed to understand exactly why these differences exist, but some hypotheses are offered.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21326 2014/09/17 - 03:25

Abstract Objective – The objective of this study was to survey American public libraries about their collection and use of graphic novels and compare their use to similar data collected about video games. Methods – Public libraries were identified and contacted electronically for participation through an open US government database of public library systems. The libraries contacted were asked to participate voluntarily. Results – The results indicated that both graphic novels and video games have become a common part of library collections, and both media can have high levels of impact on circulation. Results indicated that while almost all libraries surveyed had some graphic novels in their collections, those serving larger populations were much more likely to use graphic novels in patron outreach. Similarly, video game collection was also more commonly found in libraries serving larger populations. Results also showed that young readers were the primary users of graphic novels. Conclusion – Responses provided a clear indicator that graphic novels are a near-ubiquitous part of public libraries today. The results on readership bolster the concept of graphic novels as a gateway to adult literacy. The results also highlight differences between larger and smaller libraries in terms of resource allocations towards new media. The patron demographics associated with comics show that library cooperation could be a potential marketing tool for comic book companies.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21236 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Reinsfelder, T.L., & Anderson, J.A. (2013). Observations and perceptions of academic administrator influence on open access initiatives. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(6): 481-487. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2013.08.014 Abstract Objective – To better understand the roles and influence of senior-level academic administrators, such as provosts, on open access (OA) activities at the institutional level, including whether librarians perform these activities regardless of administrative interest. Design – Web-based survey questionnaire combined with multiple regression analysis. Settings – The research was conducted online using surveys emailed to potential participants at not-for-profit public and private academic institutions in the United States with a FTE of greater than 1000. Subjects – Academic library directors at selected colleges and universities. Methods – Using directory information from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and filtering institutions according to not-for-profit status, size, and special focus, a survey sample of 1135 colleges and universities was obtained. Library websites were used to acquire contact information for library directors. In summer 2012 the 43-item survey questionnaire was distributed to respondents online using Qualtrics. The four primary variables were each comprised of multiple questionnaire items and validated using factor analysis, and the data was explored using multiple regression. Main Results – The survey received 298 respondents for a 26% response rate, though the number of incomplete responses is not stated. Among four stakeholder groups (faculty, publishers, librarians, and senior academic administrators), library directors perceived librarians as having the greatest influence in regards to the adoption of open access (mean = .7056), followed by faculty (.3792), administrators (.1881), and publishers as having a negative impact (–.3684). A positive correlative relationship was determined between Administrator Attention to Open Access—a key variable operationalized by combining eight questionnaire items—and the variables Librarian Commitment to Open Access, Faculty Commitment to Open Access, and Faculty Proclivity Toward Open Access, with the latter especially the case at lower levels of administrator support. Regarding institution size, library directors perceived a higher likelihood of faculty adherence and librarian commitment to OA at large institutions (over 20,000). A given institution’s public or private status and geographic region were not significant predictors of faculty or librarian commitment or adherence to open access. Conclusions – The study finds that academic library directors perceive librarians to have the strongest influence upon adoption of open access, and senior academic administrator attention to open access is positively linked to the OA activities of faculty and librarians. Larger institutions are considered to have greater commitment to OA, potentially due to differing missions according to institution type. The authors recommend that open access advocates consider administrator roles and target administrator support when seeking to increase participation in OA.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22037 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Cirasella, J., & Bowdoin, S. (2013). Just roll with it? Rolling volumes vs. discrete issues in open access library and information science journals. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 1(4). http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1086 Abstract Objective – To understand the prevalence of, motivations for, and satisfaction with using a rolling-volume publishing model, as opposed to publishing discrete issues, across open access academic journals in library and information science. Design – A 12 question survey questionnaire. Setting – English-language, open access library and information science (LIS) journals published in the United States of America. Subjects – A total of 21 open access LIS journals identified via the Directory of Open Access Journals that were actively publishing, and that also met the authors’ standard of scholarliness, which they established by identifying a journal’s peer-review process or other evidence of rigorous review. Based on responses, 12 journals published using discrete issues, while 9 published as rolling volumes or as rolling volumes with some discrete issues. Methods – In late 2011, the study’s authors invited lead editors or primary journal contacts to complete the survey. Survey participants were asked to identify whether their journal published in discrete issues, rolling volumes, or rolling volumes with occasional discrete issues, with the latter two categories combined as one for ease of results analysis. Survey logic split respondents into two groups, either discrete-issue or rolling-volume. Respondents in both categories were posed similar sets of questions, with the key difference being that the questions directed at each category accounted for the publication model the journals themselves identified as using. Editors from both groups were asked about the reasons for using the publication model they identified for their journal: within the survey tool, authors provided 16 potential reasons for using a discrete-issue model, and 13 potential reasons for using a rolling-volume model. Respondents from both groups were asked to mark all reasons that applied for their respective journals. The survey also included questions about whether the journal had ever used the alternate publishing model, the editor’s satisfaction with their current model, and the likelihood of the journal switching to the alternate publishing model in the foreseeable future. Main Results – The authors collected complete responses from 21 of the original 29 journals invited to participate in the study, a response rate of 72%. For the 12 journals that identified as using discrete issues, ease of production workflow (91.7%), clear production deadlines (75.0%), and journal publicity and promotion (75.0%) were the three most common reasons for using a discrete-issue model. For the nine journals using rolling volumes, improved production workflow (77.8%), decreased dependence on production deadlines (77.8%), and increased speed of research dissemination (66.7%) were the three most common reasons cited for using a rolling-volume model. Findings show that overall satisfaction with a journal’s particular publication model was a common factor regardless of publishing model in use, though only the rolling-volume editors unanimously reported being very satisfied with their model. This high satisfaction rate is reflected in editors’ positions that they were very unlikely to switch away from the rolling-volume method. While a majority of editors of discrete-issue journals also reported being very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current model, the mixed responses to whether they would contemplate switching to the alternate model suggests that awareness of the benefits of rolling-volume publishing is increasing. Conclusion – Researchers discovered a greater incidence of rolling-volume model journals with open access LIS journals than anticipated, suggesting that this is an area where additional research is necessary. The relative newness of the rolling-volume model may be a contributing factor to the high satisfaction rate among editors of journals using this model, as journal editors are likely to be more deliberate in selecting this model over the traditional discrete-issue publishing model. Workflow and production practices were identified as key characteristics for selecting a publishing model regardless of the model selected, and therefore this is another area in need of further investigation.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22165 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Peterson, G.M. (2013). Characteristics of retracted open access biomedical literature: a bibliographic analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 64(12), 2428-2436. doi: 10.1002/asi.22944 Abstract Objective – To investigate whether the rate of retracted articles and citation rates post-retraction in the biomedical literature are comparable across open access, free-to-access, or pay-to-access journals. Design – Citation analysis. Setting – Biomedical literature. Subjects – 160 retracted papers published between 1st January 2001 and 31st December 2010. Methods – For the retracted papers, 100 records were retrieved from the PubMed database and 100 records from the PubMed Central (PMC) open access subset. Records were selected at random, based on the PubMed identifier. Each article was assigned a number based on its accessibility using the specific criteria. Articles published in the PMC open access subset were assigned a 2; articles retrieved from PubMed that were freely accessible, but did not meet the criteria for open access were assigned a 1; and articles retrieved through PubMed which were pay-to-access were assigned a 0. This allowed articles to be grouped and compared by accessibility. Citation information was collected primarily from the Science Citation Index. Articles for which no citation information was available, and those with a lifetime citation of 0 (or 1 where the citation came from the retraction statement) were excluded, leaving 160 articles for analysis. Information on the impact factor of the journals was retrieved and the analysis was performed twice; first with the entire set, and second after excluding articles published in journals with an impact factor of 10 or above (14% of the total). The average number of citations per month was used to compare citation rates, and the percentage change in citation rate pre- and post-retraction was calculated. Information was also collected on the time between the date the original article was published and the date of retraction, and the availability of information on the reason for the retraction. Main results – The overall rate of retracted articles in the PMC open access subset compared with the wider PubMed dataset was similar (0.049% and 0.028% respectively). In the group with an accessibility rating of 0, the change in citation rate pre- and post-retraction was -41%. For the group with an accessibility rating of 1, the change was -47% and in those with a rating of 2, the change in citation rate was -59%. Removing articles published in high impact factor journals did not change the results significantly. Retractions were issued more slowly for free access papers compared with open or fee-based articles. The bibliographic records for open access articles disclosed details of the reason for the retraction more frequently than free, non-open papers (91% compared to 53%). Conclusion – Open access literature is similar in its rate of retraction and the reduction in post-retraction citations to the rest of the biomedical literature, and is actually more reliable at reporting the reason for the retraction.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22185 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Perkins, G.H. & Slowik, A.J.W. (2013). The value of research in academic libraries. College & Research Libraries, 74(2), 143-158. Retrieved from http://crl.acrl.org/content/74/2/143.full.pdf+html Abstract Objective – To explore academic library administrators’ perceived value of their librarians’ research, specifically the importance to the profession and the library community. Design – Qualitative, exploratory study using a survey questionnaire. Setting – Academic libraries in the United States of America. Subjects – 23 library administrators. Methods – During the summer of 2010, one of the authors conducted 20-30 minute telephone interviews with 23 academic library administrators. Interviews were recorded and transcribed for coding. Interview questions 1-3 and 8-19 were content-analyzed; the authors described common themes for each of these questions. Items 4-7 had Likert scale response formats, and a mean and standard deviation were computed for each of these items. Main Results – The benefits of librarians’ research included fulfilling tenure-track requirements, enriching relationships with teaching faculty, library faculty recognition, improved services and programs, collaboration with others, research result application to daily issues, development as librarians, and improved knowledge of the research field. The perceived current changes and future issues for university libraries included increased digitization of collections, scholarly communication, and expanded instructional engagement of faculty and students, as well as future economic downturn and budget cuts. Administrators noted several methods that influenced their thinking: professional meetings, reading professional journals, informal discussions with colleagues, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Academic library administrators used a variety of methods to support their librarians’ research. These included tenure-track requirements, research incentives, travel funds, grants, sabbaticals, release time, and shared communication about research. Additionally, there was a substantial perceived interrelationship between how librarians’ research benefited the librarian, the library, the university, and the profession. Recognition and new programs and services were thought to benefit all four areas, and monetary rewards were considered benefits for the first three areas. Conclusion – Based on the sample of 23 academic library administrators, the authors conclude that librarians’ research is perceived as valuable to both the academic and library communities.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22167 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Branscome, B. A. (2013). Management of electronic serials in academic libraries: The results of an online survey. Serials Review, 39(4), 216-226. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.serrev.2013.10.004 Abstract Objective – To examine industry standards for the management of electronic serials and measure the adoption of electronic serials over print. Design – Survey questionnaire. Setting – Email lists aimed at academic librarians working in serials management. Subjects – 195 self-selected subscribers to serials email lists. Methods – The author created a 20 question survey that consisted primarily of closed-ended questions pertaining to the collection demographics, staff, budget, and tools of serials management groups in academic libraries. The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey and examined using the analytical features of the tool. Participants remained anonymous and the survey questions did not ask them to reveal identifiable information about their libraries. Main Results – Collection demographics questions revealed that 78% of surveyed librarians estimated that print-only collections represented 40% or fewer of their serials holdings. The author observed diversity in the factors that influence print to digital transitions in academic libraries. However 71.5% of participants indicated that publisher technology support like IP authentication was required before adopting digital subscriptions. A lack of standardization also marked serials workflows, department responsibilities, and department titles. The author did not find a correlation between serials budget and the enrollment size of the institution. Participants reported that they used tools from popular serials management vendors like Serials Solutions, Innovative Interfaces, EBSCO, and Ex Libris, but most indicated that they used more than one tool for serials management. Participants specified 52 unique serials management products used in their libraries. Conclusion – In surveying academic librarians engaged in serials management, the author sought to identify trends and standards in the field, but instead found significant variation in serials budgets and processes amongst the responding libraries. While it is clear that electronic subscriptions are a significant development and now a permanent feature of serials management, decisions to move from print to digital are complex and definitive conclusions about best practices for serials transitions could not be drawn from this study. The survey revealed that institutions have invested in staff and tools for the management of electronic serials, but staffing configurations and tool combinations are also extremely diverse. The author concluded that the lack of standardization in these areas and the disconnect between institution and serials budget size indicated a serials landscape that was highly individualized and customized to each institution’s unique needs.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22166 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Rod-Welch, L.J., Weeg, B.E., Caswell, J.V., & Kessler, T.L. (2013). Relative preferences for paper and for electronic books: Implications for reference services, library instruction, and collection management. Internet Reference Services Quarterly, 18(3-4), 281-303. doi: 10.1080/10875301.2013.840713 Abstract Objective – To determine patron format preference, perceived usability and frequency of e-book usage, and to study use and preference of e-reading devices. Design – Survey questionnaire. Setting – Large public research university in the United States of America. Subjects – 339 students, faculty, and staff members Methods – An anonymous 23-item survey was available in online and print formats. Print surveys were distributed in the lobby of the library and throughout various buildings on campus. A direct link to the online version of the survey was included in e-newsletters, on the library homepage, and on the library’s Facebook site. A definition of e-book was placed prominently at the beginning of the survey. Questions included information on preference of format (11), experiences using e-books (3), ownership of particular devices for reading e-books (1), attitudes regarding library purchase of e-books and readers (3), demographic information (4), and additional comments (1). Main Results – Of the 339 completed surveys, 79 were completed online and 260 in print. When asked about preference in format for reading, 79.6% of respondents preferred print books compared to 20.4% choosing e-books. If the library was purchasing a book to support class research and projects, 53.9% preferred print and 46.1% preferred electronic, but if the library purchased a book for leisure reading, 76% preferred print and 24% preferred electronic. In response to the question about how often they used e-books from the library, 50.1% of respondents never used library e-books, 21.1% used once per year, 20.8% monthly, 7.4% weekly and 0.6% daily. Of those who used e-books, 38.1% read only sections they needed, 31% searched keywords, 24.2% downloaded and printed pages to read later, 21.8% read the most relevant chapters, 17.1% skimmed the entire book and 14.2% read the entire book. If both formats were available, 25.1% felt that the library should purchase the print book, 16.7% the e-book, and 58.2% chose both formats. When asked about downloading e-books, 51.1% of respondents would use an e-book only if they could download it to a hand-held device. A majority of the respondents, 81.7%, felt that the library should provide e-readers for checkout if the library purchased e-books instead of print books. When asked which types of books they preferred to read in electronic format in an open-ended question, 22% preferred textbooks, 21% leisure reading, 18% research books, 15% other types, 6% journals, 5% reference books, and 3% anything. Regarding which types of books were preferred in print format, 42% preferred leisure reading, 21% other, 14% all, 11% textbooks, 6% research books, 2% no e-books, 2% journals and 2% reference books. Conclusion – Preference for book format (electronic or print) depends on the users’ purpose for reading the text. This will likely change over time, as users gain more familiarity and experience with e-books, and better support is provided from the library.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22061 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Mbabu, L.G., Bertram, A. B., & Varnum, K. (2013). Patterns of undergraduates’ use of scholarly databases in a large research university. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(2), 189-193. http://dx.doi.org/10.10.1016/j.acalib.2012.10.004 Abstract Objective – To investigate undergraduate students’ patterns of electronic database use to discover whether database use increases as undergraduate students progress into later stages of study with increasingly sophisticated information needs and demands. Design – User database authentication log analysis. Setting – A large research university in the Midwestern United States of America. Subjects – A total of 26,208 undergraduate students enrolled during the Fall 2009 academic semester. Methods – The researchers obtained logs of user-authenticated activity from the university’s databases. Logged data for each user included: the user’s action and details of that action (including database searches), the time of action, the user’s relationship to the university, the individual school in which the user was enrolled, and the user’s class standing. The data were analyzed to determine which proportion of undergraduate students accessed the library’s electronic databases. The study reports that the logged data accounted for 61% of all database activity, and the authors suggest the other 39% of use is likely from “non-undergraduate members of the research community within the [university’s] campus IP range” (192). Main Results – The study found that 10,897 (42%) of the subject population of undergraduate students accessed the library’s electronic databases. The study also compared database access by class standing, and found that freshman undergraduates had the highest proportion of database use, with 56% of enrolled freshman accessing the library’s databases. Sophomores had the second highest proportion of students accessing the databases at 40%; juniors and seniors had the lowest percentage of use, with 38% of enrolled students at each level accessing the library’s databases. The study also found that November was the peak of database search activity, accounting for 37% of database searches for the Fall 2009 semester. Database use varied by the schools or colleges in which students were enrolled, with the School of Nursing having the highest percentage of enrolled undergraduates using library databases (54%). The authors also report that the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts had the fourth highest proportion of users at 46%, representing 7,523 unique students, more than double the combined number of undergraduate users from all other programs. Since the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts accounts for more than 60% of the total undergraduate enrollment, the authors suggest that information literacy instruction targeted to these programs would have the greatest campus-wide impact. Conclusion – Although the library conducts a number of library instruction sessions with freshman students each Fall semester, the authors conclude that database use patterns suggest that the proportion of students who continue to use library databases decreases as level of study progresses. This finding does not support the study’s hypothesis that database use increases as students advance through their undergraduate studies.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22169 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Tang, Y., & Tseng, H. W. (2013). Distance learners’ self-efficacy and information literacy skills. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 39(6): 517-521. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2013.08.008 Abstract Objectives – To determine whether there is a relationship between self-efficacy (i.e., confidence) regarding information literacy skills and self-efficacy for distance learning; and to compare the use of electronic resources by high and low information literacy self-efficacy distance learners and their interest in learning more about searching. Design – Online survey. Setting – A small public university in the United States of America. Subjects – Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in one or more online courses. Most respondents were in their twenties, 76% were female, 59% were undergraduates, and 69% were full time students. Methods – Students were asked six demographic questions, eight questions measuring their self-efficacy for information literacy, and four questions measuring their self-efficacy for online learning. All self-efficacy questions were adapted from previous studies and used a one to five Likert scale. The response rate was 6.2%. Correlational analysis was conducted to test the first two hypotheses (students who have higher self-efficacy for information seeking are more likely to have higher self-efficacy for online learning and for information manipulation). Descriptive analysis was used for the remaining hypotheses, to test whether students who have higher information literacy self-efficacy are more likely to have high library skills (hypothesis three) and are more interested in learning about how to use library resources (hypothesis four). Among respondents high information literacy self-efficacy and low self-efficacy groups were distinguished, using the mean score of information literacy self-efficacy. Main Results – There was a significant correlation between self-efficacy for information seeking and self-efficacy for online learning (r = .27), as well as self-efficacy for information manipulation (r = .79). Students with high information seeking self-efficacy were more likely to use library databases (28.72%), while low self-efficacy respondents more often chose commercial search engines (30.98%). However those respondents were more likely to be interested in learning how to use library resources. Conclusion – Distance students with higher self-efficacy for information seeking and use also had higher self-efficacy for online learning. It is important to encourage such self-efficacy since studies have shown that it relates to better information literacy skills and a higher ability to be self-regulated learners. Confident learners process information, make effective decisions, and improve their learning more easily. Furthermore many respondents in this survey had little or false knowledge of how to use appropriate resources for their learning needs. This points to the need for effective library instruction. This study also shows that low self-efficacy students would like to have library instruction, especially to help them plan specific research assignments.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22001 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Conway, Kate. (2011). How prepared are students for postgraduate study? A comparison of the information literacy skills of commencing undergraduate and postgraduate studies students at Curtin University. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 42(2), 121-135. Abstract Objective – To determine whether there is a difference in the information literacy skills of postgraduate and undergraduate students beginning an information studies program, and to examine the influence of demographic characteristics on information literacy skills. Design – Online, multiple choice questionnaire to test basic information literacy skills. Setting – Information studies program at a large university in Western Australia. Subjects – 64 information studies students who responded to an email invitation to participate in an online questionnaire, a 44% response rate. Of those responding, 23 were undergraduates and 41 were postgraduates. Methods – Over the course of two semesters, an online survey was administered. In order to measure student performance against established standards, 25 test questions were aligned with the Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework (ANZIIL) (Bundy, 2004), an adapted version of the ACRL Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2000). In the first semester that the survey was administered, 9 demographic questions were asked and 11 in the second semester. Participants were invited to respond voluntarily to the questionnaire via email. Results were presented as descriptive statistics, comparing undergraduate and postgraduate student performance. The results were not tested for statistical significance and the author did not control for confounding variables. Main Results – Postgraduate respondents scored an average of 77% on the test questionnaire, while undergraduates scored an average of 69%. The 25% of respondents who had previous work experience in a library achieved average scores of 79%, in contrast to 69% among those who had not worked in a library. Average scores for undergraduates in the 20-30 age group were 81%, while those in the 30-40 age group averaged 65%. Among both undergraduate and postgraduate students, scores may indicate deficiencies in information literacy skills in several areas, including parsing citations, strategies for locating specific content, and defining an information need. Conclusion – The study concludes that postgraduate students’ information literacy skills may be marginally better than the skills of undergraduates. Age was found to be associated with higher performance among undergraduate students, and a variety of “basic” information literacy skills may elude many respondents. These findings might prompt librarians and instructors to look closely at gaps in information literacy knowledge among students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21782 2014/09/17 - 03:25

A Review of: Clarke, M. A., Belden, J. L., Koopman, R. J., Steege, L. M., Moore, J. L., Canfield, S. M., & Kim, M. S. (2013). Information needs and information-seeking behaviour analysis of primary care physicians and nurses: A literature review. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 30(3), 178-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/hir.12036 Abstract Objective – To improve information support services to health practitioners making clinical decisions by reviewing the literature on the information needs and information seeking behaviours of primary care physicians and nurses. Within this larger objective, specific questions were 1) information sources used; 2) differences between the two groups; and 3) barriers to searching for both groups. Design – Literature review. Setting – SCOPUS, CINAHL, OVID Medline, and PubMed databases. Subjects – Results from structured searches in four bibliographic databases on the information needs of primary care physicians and nurses. Methods – Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and keyword search strategies tailored to each of four databases were employed to retrieve items pertinent to research objectives. Concepts represented in either controlled or natural language vocabularies included “information seeking behaviour, primary health care, primary care physicians and nurses” (p. 180). An initial yield of 1169 items was filtered by language (English only), pertinence to study objectives, publication dates (2000-2012), and study participant age (>18). After filtering, 47 articles were examined and summarized, and recommendations for further research were made. Main Results – Few topical differences in information needed were identified between primary care physicians and nurses. Across studies retrieved, members of both groups sought information on drugs, diagnoses, and therapy. The Internet (including bibliographic databases and web-based searching) was the source of information most frequently mentioned, followed by textbooks, journals, colleagues, drug compendiums, professional websites, and medical libraries. There is insufficient evidence to support conclusions about the differences between groups. In most research, information needs and behaviours for both groups have been discussed simultaneously, with no real distinction made, suggesting that there may not be significant differences even though a few studies have found that nurses’ emphasis is on policy and procedures. Barriers to access include time, searching skills, and geographic location; for the last, improvements have been made but rural practitioners continue to be adversely affected by limited access to people and resources. Conclusion – Both primary care physicians and nurses seek information on diagnosis and treatment. The Internet is of increasing utility for both groups, but all resources have advantages and disadvantages in identifying evidence based information for use in practice. Further research is required to support access and use of evidence based resources, and to explore how focused, evidence based information can be integrated into electronic health record systems.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/22087 2014/09/17 - 03:25

Objective – At the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), researchers compared how well the library collections supported doctoral research in the three related disciplines of education, psychology, and social welfare. The goal of this project was to gather empirical data to answer questions about materials cited in dissertations, including ownership, age of materials and disciplinary usage. Methods – Researchers analyzed the bibliographies of doctoral dissertations from three academic departments at UCB: education (2009-2010), psychology (2009-2010), and social welfare (2009-2011). The sampling methodology used a systematic sample with a random start. To achieve a 95% (+/-4%) confidence interval, the sample included a total of 3,372 citations from 107 dissertations. Researchers consulted with a statistician to determine the statistical significance of the results. The test for the age of citation used a signed ranks test, which is typical for ordinal data or skewed interval data. The test for ownership was a chi-square test, which is typical for nominal data or dichotomous data. Results – Researchers determined that a very high percentage of the cited journals were owned or licensed by the Library. The ownership rate for cited journals was 97% for both education and social welfare, and 99% for psychology. There was a statistically significant difference between the three disciplines, with psychology better supported than either education (p=.02) or social welfare (p=.01). However, since ownership rates for journals in all three disciplines were extremely high, this was not a meaningful difference. For books, the researchers found a significantly smaller percentage of books owned in social welfare compared to either education (p=.00) or psychology (p=.00). We found no significant difference between the percentages of books owned in psychology versus education (p=.27). Psychology students cited the highest percentage of journals while education students cited the highest percentage of books. Psychology students cited almost no free web resources, but education and social welfare students did cite free web resources (primarily government documents, working papers, or non-governmental organization reports). All three disciplines cited older material than anticipated. Conclusions – The citation analysis, while time-consuming, provided new and important information about the use of the Library’s collections and the level of support the collections afford doctoral students in the three related disciplines of education, psychology and social welfare. This data has informed collections-related decisions including format purchases and fund allocations.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21601 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Soria, K. M. (2013). Factors predicting the importance of libraries and research activities for undergraduates. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(6), 464-470. Objective – The purpose is to analyze characteristics and perceptions of undergraduate students to determine factors that predict the importance of library and research activities for the students. Design – Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey questionnaire. Setting – Nine large, public, research universities in the United States of America. Subjects – 16,778 undergraduates who completed the form of the survey that included the academic engagement module questions. Methods – The researcher used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze student responses. Descriptive statistics included coding demographic, collegiate, and academic variables, as well as student perceptions of the importance of library and research activities. These were used in the inferential statistical analyses. Ordinary least squares regression and factor analysis were used to determine variables and factors that correlated to students’ perceptions of the importance of libraries and research activities. Main Results – The response rate for the overall SERU survey was 38.1%. The results showed that the majority of students considered having access to a “world-class library collection,” learning research methods, and attending a university with “world-class researchers” to be important. The regression model explained 22.7% of variance in the importance students placed on libraries and research activities; factors important to the model covered demographics, collegiate, and academic variables. Four variables created in factor analysis (academic engagement, library skills, satisfaction with libraries and research, and faculty interactions) were significantly correlated with the importance students placed on libraries and research activities. The most important predictors in the model were: student satisfaction, interest in a research or science profession, interest in medical or health-related profession, academic engagement, and academic level. Conclusion – Based on the results of this study, librarians should be able to tailor their marketing to specific student groups to increase the perception of importance of libraries by undergraduates. For example, more success may be had marketing to students who are Hispanic, Asian, international, interested in law, psychology or research professions as the study found these students place more importance on libraries and research activities than other groups. These students may be targeted for being peer advocates for the libraries. Further research is suggested to more fully understand factors that influence the value undergraduate students place on libraries and find ways to increase the value of libraries and research activities for those demographic groups who currently rate the importance lower.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21635 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Asher, A. D., Duke, L. M., & Wilson, S. (2012). Paths of discovery: Comparing the search effectiveness of EBSCO Discovery Service, Summon, Google Scholar, and conventional library resources. College & Research Libraries, 74(5), p. 464-488. Objectives – To explore the effectiveness of different search tools (EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS), Summon, Google Scholar and traditional library resources) in supporting the typical research queries faced by undergraduate students and gain an understanding of student research practices. Design – Mixed methods approach using quantitative data collected from grading of students’ selected resources combined with qualitative data from a search process interview with students. Setting – Two university libraries in the United States of America (Bucknell University (BU) and Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU)). Subjects – Eighty-seven undergraduate students across a range of disciplines. Methods – Participants were assigned to one of five test groups and required to find two resources for each of four standardised research queries using a specified tool: EDS; Summon; Google Scholar; Library catalogue/databases; or “no tool” where no specific tool was specified and participants were free to choose. The resources submitted by students for each of the four queries were rated on a scale of 0-3 by four librarians using a rubric, to produce average ratings for each tool. The interview comprised two parts: the search task, followed by a reflective interview based on open-ended questions relating to search practices and habits. The search process interview was recorded using Camtasia screen capture and audio software, and the URLs used by participants were also recorded. Main Results – Quantitative results indicated that students who used EDS selected slightly higher quality sources on average (scoring 2.54 out of 3), compared to all other groups. Those who used EDS also completed the queries in less time (747 seconds) than those using Summon (1,209 seconds), Google Scholar (968 seconds), library databases (963 seconds) or where no tool was specified (1,081 seconds). Academic journal articles also represented the relatively highest proportion of resources for this group (73.8% of resources chosen), whilst newspaper articles were chosen most frequently by those using Summon (20.6% of resources chosen). The qualitative findings suggest that students may over-rely on the top results provided by search systems, rather than using critical analysis and evaluation. Conclusion – Although EDS performed slightly better overall, in some cases the tools produced relatively similar results, and none of the tools performed particularly poorly. Indeed the reasonably strong performance of both Google Scholar and traditional library tools/databases in some aspects (such as the relative proportion of books and journal articles chosen by students), may raise questions regarding the potential benefit of acquiring a new discovery product, given the possibly significant costs involved. As the study finds that most students do not go beyond simple searches and the first page of results, regardless of the tool they are using, this suggests that discovery services do not substantially lessen the need for information literacy instruction, although it may provide some opportunity to redirect teaching time away from retrieval and towards higher-order skills such as evaluating information and critical thinking.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21327 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Salisbury, F., & Karasmanis, S. (2011). Are they ready? Exploring student information literacy skills in the transition from secondary to tertiary education. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 42(1), 43-58. Objective – To determine what existing information literacy skills first year students possess upon entering university. Design – Quantitative survey questionnaire. Setting – A research university in Australia. Subjects – 1,029 first year students in the health sciences. Methods – First year students enrolled in the health sciences were asked to complete a paper questionnaire in their first week of classes in 2009. The 20 question survey was distributed in student tutorial groups. The first 10 questions collected information on student demographics, expected library use, and existing information seeking behaviour. The remaining 10 questions tested students’ understanding of information literacy concepts. Data collected from the survey were analyzed using the statistical software SPSS. Main Results – Most of the students who responded to the questionnaire were between the ages of 16 and 21 (84.3%) with only 2.2% over the age of 40. Approximately 15% of respondents had completed some postsecondary university or vocational education prior to enrolling in their current program. The students ranked Google, a friend, and a book as the top three places they would go to find information on something they knew little about. Google was also the most popular choice for finding a scholarly article (35% of respondents), followed by the library catalogue (21%). A large proportion of students correctly answered questions relating to identifying appropriate search terms. For example, one third of the students selected the correct combination of search concepts for a provided topic, and 77% identified that the choice of search phrase could negatively impact search results. Students also demonstrated prior knowledge of the Boolean operator AND, with 38% correctly identifying its use in the related question. Most students were also able to identify key markers of a website’s credibility. Questions relating to ethical information use and scholarly literature proved more challenging. Almost half (45%) of the students said that they did not know the characteristics of a peer reviewed journal article. Twenty five percent of respondents indicated that citing an information source was only necessary in the case of direct quotes, with only 28% correctly identifying the need for citing both quotes and paraphrasing. Only 23% were able to select the example of a journal citation from the list presented. Conclusion – Students enter university with existing strengths in concept identification and basic search formulation, but require the most assistance with locating and identifying scholarly literature and how to cite it appropriately in their work. The findings will inform the development of an online information literacy assessment tool to assist incoming students in identifying areas where they may require additional support as they transition to university.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21585 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Wallace, E. D., & Jefferson, R. N. (2013). Developing Critical Thinking Skills For Information Seeking Success. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 19(3): 246-255. Objective – To determine whether a series of workbook exercises contributed to improved critical thinking test scores. Design – Post-test design with a quasi-experimental control group. Setting – Military college in the United States of America. Subjects – 76 undergraduates enrolled in a required freshman orientation seminar. Methods – Approximately one third of the enrolled participants (n=26) were provided with a copy of the book Critical Thinking: Building the Basics. A subset of exercises was completed independently over three to four class sessions during the first three weeks of the semester. The control group (n=50) did not receive any critical skills thinking instruction. The iCritical Thinking Skills Test, an online exam provided by Educational Testing Service (ETS), was administered to both groups during a class session. The exam consists of 7 types of tasks: define, access, evaluate, manage, integrate, create, communicate, evaluated using 14 tasks based on real-world scenarios. Main Results – Approximately 20% (15) of all students passed the test, 9 from the intervention group and 6 from the control group. Significant differences were detected between the groups on the Integrate and Manage subtests. The range for individual subtests and total scores was wide. Scores for two of the seven subtests, Create and Evaluate, showed the greatest amount of variability; the Communicate subtest scores had the least. Conclusion – Limitations of the study include potential motivational differences between the groups. Students who completed workbook exercises appeared to be motivated to do well on the test, while those who did not seemed less motivated. The effectiveness of exercises in developing critical thinking skills in this study will persuade administrators to consider using such exercises in the classroom.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21578 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Gross, M. & Latham, D. (2013). Addressing below proficient information literacy skills: Evaluating the efficacy of an evidence-based educational intervention. Library & Information Science Research, 35(3), 181-190. Objective – To evaluate the impact of an educational intervention workshop on students’ information literacy (IL) skills and self-perception of their own IL knowledge. Design – Quasi-experimental design with control groups and semi-structured interviews. Setting – Two community colleges in the United States of America, one in a rural setting and one in an urban setting. Subjects – Ninety-two students enrolled in an entry-level English course, who scored below proficiency (65%) on the Information Literacy Test (ILT). Methods – One hundred students from each college took the pre-session ILT and an IL self-assessment survey at the beginning of the Spring 2011 semester. The ILT used was developed and validated by James Madison University (Wise, Cameron, Yang, & Davis, n.d.) and measures understanding of all the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Information Literacy Competency Standards (ACRL, 2000, pp. 2-3) except Standard 4. For motivation, students each received $20 for their efforts and were told those who scored in the top 15% would enter a draw to win one of two additional prizes of $50. Those who scored below the ILT proficiency level of 65% were invited to participate in the quasi-experiment. Forty-nine participants were assigned to the workshop group and 43 to the control group. The two groups were comparable in demographic characteristics, prior IL learning, and ILT scores. Those in the workshop group were ask to attend one of five workshops designed around the Analyze, Search, Evaluate (ASE) process model for IL interventions (Gross, Armstrong, & Latham, 2012). The workshops were offered on both campuses and taught by the same instruction librarian. The workshop participants completed questionnaires, which included a second ILT, self-assessment, and ASE-based questions, before and after the IL workshops. Each workshop participant received $30. The control group participants took the same post-session questionnaire after the workshops were completed and received $20. The same $50 incentive was offered to both groups. Two weeks after the workshops, semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 30 participants to analyze their learning experiences. Results – Participants’ self-assessment of IL skills showed significant downgrading after they took the ILT for the first time. This downward calibration held true for both the control (t (41) = 4.077, p < 0.004) and the workshop (t (45) = 4.149, p < 0.000) groups. Subsequent self-ratings from the control group showed this downward recalibration of self-assessment was sustained over time. For participants in the workshop group, their average self-rating of IL ability rose from a pre-ASE workshop rating of 2.79 out of a maximum score of 5, to a post-workshop rating of 3.83. However, the same participants’ post-workshop ILT scores did not show any significant improvement. Attending the ASE workshop did not help participants to achieve the “proficient” IL skill level (an ILT score of 65% or higher). Nonetheless, the workshop group’s performance on the ASE focused questions, also administered pre- and post-session, indicated that participants did gain some IL skills during the workshop. On the ASE questions, which had a maximum score of 25 points, the workshop group’s average score increased from 10.62, pre-session to 13.40, post-session, while the control group had an average score of 10.91 pre-session and 10.77 post-session. In the follow-up interviews, most participants reviewed the workshop positively and felt that their peers would benefit from attending. However, the skills participants reported learning primarily focused on the Search stage of the ASE model, such as exact phrase, truncation, and the advanced search options in Google. Conclusion – This quasi-experiment examined the impact of a one-hour ASE model-based workshop on first-year English students with below-proficiency IL skill levels. Self-assessment ratings indicated that workshop attendance increased students’ confidence in their skill level, although this upward recalibration of self-view significantly overestimated participants’ actual skill gain. Pre- and post-test questionnaires indicated that, while students did gain some new IL knowledge, attending the workshop was insufficient to improve their IL skill to the proficient level.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21584 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Bishop, B. W., & Bartlett, J. A. (2013). Where do we go from here? Informing academic library staffing through reference transaction analysis. College & Research Libraries, 74(5), 489-500. Objective – To identify the quantity of location-based and subject-based questions and determine the locations where those questions are asked in order to inform decision-making regarding optimal placing of staff. Design – Content analysis of location-based and subject-based reference transactions or transcripts collected using LibStats at 15 face-to-face (f2f) service points and via virtual services. Setting – Virtual and f2f service points at University of Kentucky (UK) campus libraries. Subjects – 1,852 location-based and subject-based reference transactions gathered via a systematic sample of every 70th transaction out of 129,572 transactions collected. Methods – Using LibStats, the researchers collected data on location-based and subject-based questions at all service points at UK Libraries between 2008 and 2011. The researchers eliminated transcripts that did not include complete data or questions with fields left blank. If all question fields were properly completed, identification and coding of location-based or subject-based questions took place. Usable transcripts included 1,333 questions that contained sufficient data. For this particular content analysis only the question type, reference mode, and location of question were utilized from the data collected. Unusable transactions were removed prior to content analysis, and reliability testing was conducted to determine interrater and intrarater reliability. Interrater reliability was high (Krippendorff’s alpha = .87%) and intrarater reliability was acceptable (Cohen's kappa = .880). Main Results – From the usable transcripts, 83.7% contained location-based questions and 16.3% were subject-based, and a little over 80% of location-based questions and 77.2% of subject-based questions were asked face-to-face (f2f). Of the location-based questions, 11.5% were directional questions and many of these questions were related to finding places inside the libraries. “Attribute of location” questions related to library services and resources, such as finding an item, printing, circulation, desk supplies, and computer problems, made up 72.8% of total question transactions. Researchers found that subject-based questions were difficult to categorize and noted that other methods would be needed to analyze the content of these questions. Professional librarians and library staff are better equipped to answer these questions, and the location where the question asked is irrelevant. The researchers addressed the issue of where questions were asked by recording the reference mode (chat, e-mail, phone, or f2f) and location service point at UK Libraries. Overall, 79% of questions were asked f2f, rather than via chat or e-mail. Researchers think that this is due to a lack of marketing efforts regarding those services, noting that most questions were asked in the system’s large main library, which also receives the most subject-based questions. Conclusion – This study can inform the UK Libraries system as to where their resources are most needed and allow for more strategic decision-making regarding staffing. The study could also prompt development of a mobile application to answer location-based questions, though more investigation is needed before moving forward with development of a mobile app. Due to the findings of this study, UK Libraries will deploy their professional library staff to locations where subject-based questions were most frequently asked. Because staffing of libraries is one of the “most expensive and valuable resources,” academic libraries can use this method to validate their current staffing strategies or justify the allocation of staff throughout their systems (p. 499).

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21534 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Blecic, D.D., Wiberley, Jr., S.E., Fiscella, J.B., Bahnmaier-Blaszczak, S., & Lowery, R. (2013). Deal or no deal?: Evaluating Big Deals and their journals. College & Research Libraries, 74(2), 178-193. Objective – To assess the value of aggregated journal packages (Big Deals) and to select individual journal titles for continued subscription should a deal be cancelled. Design – Case study. Setting – Doctoral research university library in the United States of America. Subjects – Three anonymous Big Deals. Methods – The authors define metrics at two levels (deal and journal) to evaluate Big Deal packages. The metrics rely heavily on the COUNTER JR1 metric Successful Full-Text Article Request (SFTAR). Main Results – The authors found that while 30% of journals provide 80% of SFTARs, the cost of subscribing to these journals individually would not save significant sums of money. Additionally, they speculate that library users would increase the number of interlibrary loan requests to access the 20% of SFTARs that would be inaccessible if a Big Deal was cut, amounting to increased costs. Conclusion – With no sign of publishers moving to change the price and conditions of Big Deals, these arrangements are becoming unsustainable for libraries. As this occurs, librarians require methods of assessing which deals to keep and which to cut, as well as evidence of to which individual journals they should subscribe. The authors of this paper set out one method of conducting these assessments that they have found to be useful at an academic library. They conclude by stating that even with SFTAR data, individuals must keep in mind the necessity of providing equitable access to all of a university community’s user groups.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21247 2014/07/02 - 06:02

A Review of: Schwegler, R. A., and Shamoon, L. K. (1982). The aims and process of the research paper. College English, 44(8), 817-824. Objectives – This classic article discusses research-based writing assignments. Schwegler and Shamoon sought to identify differences between college students’ and college instructors’ conceptions of research and research paper assignments, particularly in terms of their purpose and process. The authors also sought to identify common features of academic research writing that could inform writing instruction about research writing. Design – Qualitative interviews with college instructors and students about their views of the research process and about forms of research writing. Instructors were also interviewed about evaluation standards for academic research papers. Setting – Unspecified, though the description suggests a college or university in the United States. Subjects – College instructors and college students. (Number of subjects unspecified.) Methods – The authors, a university writing program director and a writing program instructor, conducted one-on-one interviews with college instructors and students about their views of research and the research paper. Questions focused on conceptions of the research process, the purposes of research, and the forms that research writing takes. Instructors were also asked about standards for effective evaluation of research papers. The limited description of the research methods and interview questions employed in this study hinder the ability to critically assess its validity and reliability. Potential limitations of the study, such as selection bias or unclear wording of interview questions, cannot be adequately assessed based on the provided information. The authors also do not identify limitations of their study. As is discussed in more detail in this review’s commentary, the study does not conform to the conventions of most research studies from the behavioral, health, physical, and social sciences. The authors’ methods, however, may be better understood in light of particular disciplinary approaches and debates in Composition Studies. Main Results – Interviewees’ responses illustrated notable differences between college instructors’ and college students’ conceptions of the process, purpose, forms, and audiences of research paper assignments. While instructors understood the research paper to be argumentative, analytical, and interpretive, students generally described it as informative and factual. Students, when asked why research papers are assigned, identified purposes such as learning more about a topic, demonstrating one’s knowledge, or learning to use the library. Instructors indicated that the purpose of the research paper includes testing a theory, building on previous research, and exploring a problem that has been presented by other research or events (p. 819). At the same time, most instructors described research as an ongoing pursuit of “an elusive truth” (p. 819), rather than as primarily factual in nature. According to Schwegler and Shamoon, instructors also indicated during interviews that research and writing involve a clear though complex pattern that is evident in the structure and conventions of research papers. For example, the research process usually begins with activities like reading, note-taking, identifying problems with and gaps in current research, and conversing with colleagues. These instructors also reported that writing conventions which are implicitly understood in their fields are used by other scholars to evaluate their peers’ work. Reflecting on these interview responses, Schwegler and Shamoon suggest that pedagogical approaches to writing instruction can be informed both by acknowledging disparities in students’ and instructors’ conceptions of research and by identifying shared characteristics of academic writing. The authors therefore make several general observations about the nature of professional research papers and describe the structure and conventions of academic research papers. They conclude that the structure of scholarly research papers across the disciplines reflects the research process. Such a paper opens with identification of a research problem and a review of current knowledge and is followed by a variation of four possible patterns: 1) Review of research, 2) Application or implementation of a theory, 3) Refute, refine, or replicate prior research, and 4) Testing a hypothesis ( pp. 822-823). Schwegler and Shamoon indicate that the key features of scholars’ writings are also apparent in student research papers which instructors evaluate as highly-ranked and absent in lower-ranked papers. Furthermore, they provide an appendix that outlines the essential textual features of a research paper (Appendix A) (p. 822). It is unclear, however, if these descriptions of scholarly research writing are based on the instructor interviews or on other sources, such as previous analytical studies or an analysis of academic research papers from various disciplines. The researchers do not articulate the specific methods used to arrive at their generalizations. Conclusion – The authors conclude that students’ and instructors’ differing conceptions of the research process and the research paper have important implications for writing instruction. Many of the interviewed instructors described research as involving methods that are quite different from those needed for most research paper assignments. The discrepancies between class assignments and academics’ approaches to research suggests that differences in instructors’ and students’ views of research often are not addressed in the design of research paper assignments. Instructors who teach the research paper should ensure that the purpose, structure, and style of assignments reflect what content-area instructors will expect from students. Schwegler and Shamoon argue that because the basic conventions of the research paper generally apply across disciplines, instruction about those conventions can be integrated into composition courses and lower-level undergraduate courses. Such an approach can assist students in better understanding and approaching research writing as would a scholar in the given discipline.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/21324 2014/07/02 - 06:02

Objective – This study examined the effects that mentioning the survey incentive prize in the subject line of a reminder email had on the response rate and data quality. To date, manipulation of the subject line, specifically in terms of mentioning the incentive prize, has received limited attention in the survey design literature. Methods – The delivery of the survey invitation is discussed in terms of the timing of the launch and reminder emails. Particular emphasis is given to the design of the email subject line and justification of the format. Weekly response rates from four LibQUAL+TM surveys were compared. In addition, weekly responses for one year were analyzed using SPSS to investigate if there were any between means differences in terms of three elements of data quality. The three elements were: length of time it took to complete the survey, the number of core questions with an N/A response, and the number of illogical responses where minimum scores were higher than desired. Results – The response rates for the second week were grouped together based on the presence or absence of the subject line manipulation. There was a significant difference between these means (4.75%, p 0.033). There was no statistical difference in regards to the measures of data quality as determined by a one-way ANOVA test. Conclusions – Reminding survey participants with an email that mentions the incentive prize in the subject line appears to increase response rates with no deleterious effects on data quality. The results of this investigation are encouraging, and those running the LibQUAL+TM survey in their universities should consider implementing this method to increase response rates. Further research to replicate these findings in other contexts and using an experimental design would be beneficial.

http://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/EBLIP/article/view/19870 2014/03/17 - 15:50