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Research consultation effectiveness for freshman and senior undergraduate students

Allison Faix (Kimbel Library, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)
Amanda MacDonald (R.B.D. House Undergraduate Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Brooke Taxakis (Wiggins Memorial Library, Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Article publication date: 4 February 2014



The aim of this paper is to compare the effectiveness of library research consultations for freshmen and senior undergraduate students, to determine if freshmen or seniors benefit more from these sessions.


This study looks at the results of a survey conducted with students enrolled in a senior level capstone research course and in a freshman level composition course who were required to attend library research consultations.


The study finds that freshman students can be overwhelmed by the amount of resources a research consultation may help them locate, and research consultations for freshmen should be conducted with this in mind.

Research limitations/implications

Because the size of our study was small, further research with a larger sample size should also be conducted.

Practical implications

If librarians experience high demand for required research consultations, and have difficulty scheduling sessions, then they may take into consideration that senior students benefit more from consultations than freshmen. Research consultations should also be designed to take student class rank into account.


This study shows that upper-level students benefit more from research consultation than freshman students. Librarians should take this research into consideration when consulting with faculty about the most effective methods of instruction for students.



Faix, A., MacDonald, A. and Taxakis, B. (2014), "Research consultation effectiveness for freshman and senior undergraduate students", Reference Services Review, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 4-15.



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