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STEM undergraduate students: library use, perceptions and GPA

Jung Mi Scoulas (University of Illinois Chicago Library, Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 21 June 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2021




This study aims to examine if differences exist in undergraduate students' library use, perceptions and grade point average (GPA) among science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM disciplines.


The current study used data from the 2018 student survey. Among 2,277 students who completed the survey (response rate = 8%), only undergraduate students (n = 1,265) were selected for this study because the current study aims to examine the differences between STEM and non-STEM undergraduate students.


The findings from a Mann–Whitney U test revealed that STEM respondents perceived specific library resources (subject and course guide, library instructions and library workshops) as slightly less than non-STEM respondents. The results from ANOVA demonstrated that the mean scores in GPA for STEM respondents who never used online library, journals and databases were lower than respondents who used those library resources, regardless of STEM and non-STEM disciplines.


Revisiting the data collected and analyzing specific user groups will be valuable to academic libraries because this study will provide academic librarians with a deeper understanding of specific user needs and perceptions of library resources and services.



The author gratefully acknowledges the Assessment Coordinator Advisory Committee at the University of Illinois Chicago Library for developing the survey and data collection as well as Paula Dempsey for her review and feedback of this article. The author received no funding for this work.


Scoulas, J.M. (2021), "STEM undergraduate students: library use, perceptions and GPA", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 137-148.



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