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One size does not fit all: user surveys in academic libraries

Claire Creaser (LISU, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 1 September 2006




User surveys in academic libraries are not generally widely publicised. The purpose of this paper is to analyse and comment on the results of a variety of user surveys and draw together some of that work.


The paper describes the work of LISU at Loughborough University, which has analysed two main instruments – the LibQual+ surveys as they have been applied in the UK, and the standard Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) user survey template. The paper considers the implications of different response rates and sample sizes on the validity of results and issues concerning benchmarking with user survey data.


One aim of user surveys must be to improve the services provided to users. High overall satisfaction levels are good for publicity, and may persuade institutional management that all is well with the library, but they should not lead to complacency within the service. It is important to drill down into the detail of the results, to make comparisons within or between services, and to investigate examples of good practice.


The paper provides a useful overview of UK academic library user survey methods.



Creaser, C. (2006), "One size does not fit all: user surveys in academic libraries", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 153-162.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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