Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

February 16, 2016

Students at the Library – Research Consultation Assessment

Cassie Koldewyn

In the January 2016 issue of The Journal of Academic Librarianship the article, “Research Consultation Assessment: Perceptions of Students and Librarians” explores how students and librarians experience the relative success of in-person research consultations. In 80, paired surveys students and the librarians who consulted with them scored the usefulness of the interaction. The figure below illustrates the discrepancies in perception between student and librarian. In 28% of the interactions the librarian underestimated the usefulness of the consultation, a phenomenon known as provider pessimism. On the other hand, 86% of surveys indicated that the student had found the meeting “Very Useful.” This is very encouraging data.


figure from Research Consultation Assessment: Perceptions of Students and Librarians

Another element of the research was the discrepancy in understanding that exists between student and librarian surrounding resource terminology and use. The survey asked students to indicate which of 5 types of resources had been used during their consultation. Librarians were asked to predict which resources the students would indicate had been used. The 5 resource types were: inPrimo (Discovery Tool), Catalogs, Databases, E-Journals, LibGuides, and Research Portals. Across the five resources, at least 25% of the time students and librarians showed a miscommunication about which resources had been shown. This provides insight into the potential successes and road-blocks associated with in-person research consultations with students. How does this compare to your experiences?