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Student consultants' perceptions and valuations of research skills

Carissa M. Holler Phillips (Business and Economics Library, University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to present perceptions and valuations of research skills that members of one student consulting group reported based on their coursework and participation in experiential consulting projects.


In interviews conducted in Fall 2009, students were asked to describe the research skills they acquired through their participation in experiential consulting projects and, for comparison, the research skills they acquired through their course assignments. The students' responses were placed into categories based on the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) information literacy competency standards for higher education, where applicable. Other categories were created to address responses that did not correspond to the ACRL standards. Categories with the highest overall number of occurrences, representing recurring themes in the responses, were analyzed.


The students identified research skills that they believed would be important in their future professions and everyday lives. However, these were generally not the same skills that the students mentioned developing through their experiential consulting projects and their courses, presenting a disconnect that requires further examination. Some of the research skills mentioned correspond to ACRL Standards, while others represent the students' own interpretations of what research skills are, revealing opportunities to instruct students in more effectively articulating transferable research skills.


This is the first study to focus on student consultants' perceptions of research and the value they place on the research skills they develop. Insights gained have influenced instruction efforts to the group under study, as well as provided starting points for future investigations.



Holler Phillips, C.M. (2011), "Student consultants' perceptions and valuations of research skills", Reference Services Review, Vol. 39 No. 3, pp. 514-530.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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