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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2019

Elizabeth Kocevar-Weidinger, Emily Cox, Mark Lenker, Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol and Virginia Kinman

The purpose of this study is to investigate how first-year students conduct everyday life research and how, if possible, their everyday research skills can inform…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate how first-year students conduct everyday life research and how, if possible, their everyday research skills can inform information literacy instruction in higher education. Very few studies in information literacy emphasize existing knowledge that students bring with them to college; instead, the emphasis tends to fall on deficits in students’ academic research skills. Strengths-based approaches or asset-based approaches as found in the literature of psychology and education provide a basis for exploring this direction in information literacy education.

Design/methodology/approach

The research used a phenomenographic methodology, interviewing 40 first-year students from two large universities, a medium-sized university and a community college.

Findings

The qualitative study suggests that first-year students are capable of using information purposefully to learn or research interests that have sparked their curiosities. They are also capable of reflecting on the ways that their investigations fulfilled their purposes, resulted in unexpected outcomes or made them consider their issue in a new light. These existing capacities provide promising starting points for strengths-based approaches to information literacy instruction.

Practical implications

Dialogue with students about prior research experiences enables teaching librarians to plan engaging, authentic information literacy curriculum that acknowledges existing strengths.

Originality/value

This study provides a valuable contribution to empirical evidence of student research skills prior to entering higher education and suggests connections between those skills and the ACRL Information Literacy Framework. In addition, the study provides a case for strengths-based education, activating students’ prior knowledge to learn and create new knowledge. Authors have presented at Library Instruction West, July 2018.

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2010

Elizabeth Kocevar‐Weidinger, Candice Benjes‐Small, Eric Ackermann and Virginia R. Kinman

The aim of this paper is to document how two university libraries determined whether mystery shopping is an effective and statistically feasible instrument for evaluating…

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to document how two university libraries determined whether mystery shopping is an effective and statistically feasible instrument for evaluating customer service at public service desks.

Design/methodology/approach

Mystery shopping exercises were conducted at both libraries during the 2008 spring and fall semesters. Trained mystery shoppers recorded staff behaviors and the answers given to their reference questions and open‐ended comments about their reference experience. Using ClinTools, Excel, and Atlas.ti, the authors conducted a meta‐analysis of the data.

Findings

Mystery shopping is an effective method for evaluating customer service in libraries. The shoppers observed staff behaviors that were generally in line with the libraries' guidelines, but their comments revealed suggestions for improvement. When the behavior rubric results were combined with the comments, the authors learned that shoppers were somewhat unsatisfied.

Research limitations/implications

The results are approximate since the two instruments used were not identical, requiring the combination of common elements with some loss of accuracy. In this study, the authors used meta‐analysis to compensate for the differences in the instruments. However, another solution would be to create one instrument for both institutions that contained common elements for inter library comparison and local elements for local customization.

Practical implications

Other libraries can adapt this mystery shopping methodology and data analysis to measure customer service in their libraries.

Originality/value

No other study of mystery shopping has included the questionnaires used at both institutions, the aggregated data, and the method of analysis for meaningful evaluation.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2004

Susan E. Cooperstein and Elizabeth Kocevar‐Weidinger

Guided by four principles – learners construct their own meaning; new learning builds on prior knowledge; learning is enhanced by social interaction; and learning develops…

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13860

Abstract

Guided by four principles – learners construct their own meaning; new learning builds on prior knowledge; learning is enhanced by social interaction; and learning develops through “authentic” tasks – constructivist learning moves from experience to knowledge and not the other way around. In a constructivist classroom, the activities lead to the concepts; the students construct the meanings. Learning happens! Abstract concepts become meaningful, transferable, and retained because they are attached to the performance of a concrete activity. This article discusses the elements of constructive learning and describes ways to apply those elements to library instruction to create truly “active” learning. An appendix contains sample exercises.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2010

Theresa S. Arndt

This paper aims to serve as an introduction to the articles in the special theme issue on “reference in the (post)Google age”, outlining some of the challenges and…

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2614

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to serve as an introduction to the articles in the special theme issue on “reference in the (post)Google age”, outlining some of the challenges and opportunities this new information environment has presented for reference services and introducing some of the creative ways in which librarians are adapting.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an overview of the reference service issues and models that are discussed in the papers that follow, including various ways of assessing, locating, and staffing services.

Findings

Reference services have not been made obsolete by new online search options, and reference librarians are adapting and rethinking their service models in various resourceful ways.

Practical implications

Specific examples of new reference models and ways of assessing reference services are outlined.

Originality/value

This paper provides an introduction to the special issue on current reference services.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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