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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Laura Saunders

This study aims to explore the effectiveness and learning outcomes of two reference interview assignments – one in which students worked with a family member or friend and…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to explore the effectiveness and learning outcomes of two reference interview assignments – one in which students worked with a family member or friend and a “practice-based” assignment in which students were paired with other graduate students working on a class assignment.

Design/methodology/approach

Students completed reflective essay and submitted a survey rating their perceptions of their patrons’ satisfaction, completeness of the answer and overall success of the transaction.

Findings

Students in both classes were successful and applied the skills and competencies of the reference interview, but students with the practice-based assignment had a more realistic experience and were somewhat less confident about their performance.

Practical implications

The study offers some implications and suggestions for a more effective and realistic approach to teaching the reference interview.

Originality/value

There is a lack of literature on how to teach the reference interview and on the effectiveness of different types of assignments. This study addresses that gap and the results of this study will be of interest to Library and Information Science faculty, as well as library directors and reference managers who might offer training to staff.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 44 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

David Ward

The technology of virtual reference software has created new opportunities for libraries to examine the reference interview and consider its role in their institutions…

Abstract

The technology of virtual reference software has created new opportunities for libraries to examine the reference interview and consider its role in their institutions. The ability to capture transcripts of reference transactions (or "chats") allows for a routine analysis of the interview in ways only previously available through more time‐consuming and awkward means, such as obtrusive studies. This analysis leads to many new possibilities for alternative methods of staff training. This article examines one such method, in which graduate student workers at a university reference desk were asked to examine transcripts of actual virtual reference transactions, using the standard of the Reference and User Services Association’s Behavioral Guidelines for evaluation. The study sought to increase the students’ awareness of reference standards and expectations for reference desk behavior, as well as to help the group come to a consensus about how the reference interview should be conducted locally in the online and in‐person environments.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1979

O. Gene Norman

The purpose of this article is to acquaint readers with a selection of recent literature dealing with the reference interview. An attempt has been made to identify and to…

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to acquaint readers with a selection of recent literature dealing with the reference interview. An attempt has been made to identify and to describe some of the important trends related to the reference interview. Two areas of recent interest are improving communications and utilizing techniques from communication sciences in interviewing; in addition, the uses of sensitivity, body language and counseling techniques are covered.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2009

Wyoma van Duinkerken, Jane Stephens and Karen I. MacDonald

The purpose of this paper is to compare established reference interview guidelines (RUSA) with actual reference provider behaviors in remote reference transactions. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare established reference interview guidelines (RUSA) with actual reference provider behaviors in remote reference transactions. The data is used to argue that specific reference interview “best practice standards” should be developed for remote access reference services.

Design/methodology/approach

Remote reference transactions were examined for evidence of adherence, or not, to the RUSA guidelines and behaviors. The transcripts were also coded for showing evidence, or not, of user satisfaction.

Findings

Data from 1,435 virtual reference transcripts shows that in 82 percent of the reference sessions the user found the information needed. Analysis also shows that librarian compliance with RUSA‐recommended reference interview behaviors, especially in the areas of listening/inquiring and searching is frequently poor – possibly due to time constraints.

Research limitations/implication

This study adds to the empirically‐based knowledge on the reference interview process and virtual reference services.

Practical implication

Reference policies and procedures can be modified to accommodate patrons based on type of reference access. Education and training of reference staff can be customized to meet patron needs.

Originality/value

This paper develops a methodology for evaluating the reference interview in a virtual reference transaction and suggests modification of the RUSA reference interview guidelines for remote access reference services.

Details

New Library World, vol. 110 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1992

Michael Afolabi

Identifies concepts adopted in interviewing clients duringcounselling. Explains their use in counselling and discusses theirapplication to interviewing enquiries by…

Abstract

Identifies concepts adopted in interviewing clients during counselling. Explains their use in counselling and discusses their application to interviewing enquiries by reference librarians or information specialists. The concepts considered are: empathy, respect, concreteness, genuineness, immediacy, positive regard, understanding, unconditional regard, congruence and confrontation. Stresses the importance of establishing the correct relationship throughout the reference interview.

Details

Library Review, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1998

Marilyn Domas White

This article characterises the questioning behaviour in reference interviews preceding delegated online searches of bibliographic databases and relates it to questioning…

Abstract

This article characterises the questioning behaviour in reference interviews preceding delegated online searches of bibliographic databases and relates it to questioning behaviour in other types of interviews/settings. With one exception, the unit of analysis is the question (N=610), not the interview. The author uses A.C. Graesser‘s typology of questions to analyse type of question and M.D. White’s typology of information categories to determine the question‘s content objective; this is the first application of Graesser’s typology to interview questions in any setting. Graesser‘s categories allow for a more subtle understanding of the kind of information need underlying a question. Comparisons are made between questions asked by the information specialist and those asked by the client. Findings show that the information specialist dominates the interview, about half the questions were verification questions and about 22% were judgemental questions or requests; all but four types of questions from Graesser’s categories appeared in the interviews, but no new question types were discovered. Clients often phrase questions as requests. In content, both clients and information specialists focus on the subject and service requested, but the clients ask also about search strategy and output features. Both parties ask predominantly short‐answer questions. Results are related to interface design for retrieval systems.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 54 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Consists of a series of nine articles under the same title. Each article provides a different slant on the hiring process. Outlines the legal position when hiring…

Abstract

Consists of a series of nine articles under the same title. Each article provides a different slant on the hiring process. Outlines the legal position when hiring employees and concentrates on providing a framework for managers. Covers areas including job analysis and descriptions, where to advertise and recruit, selection criteria, the interview, testing, negotiating the offer of employment and references. Briefly describes trends in employment practices and ways to minimize potential litigation through best practice.

Details

Management Research News, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-9174

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Kirsti Nilsen

The purpose of this paper is to compare user perspectives on visits to in‐person and virtual reference services conducted by participants in the Library Visit Study, an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare user perspectives on visits to in‐person and virtual reference services conducted by participants in the Library Visit Study, an ongoing research project.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper compares satisfaction rates, identifies staff behaviours that influence user satisfaction, and suggests how both face‐to‐face and virtual reference can be improved. Since 1990, participants in the Library Visit Study have been MLIS students who ask questions at in‐person and virtual reference desks, and report on their experiences. In addition to these accounts, students complete questionnaires on their experiences. Level of satisfaction with the in‐person or virtual transactions, based on the “willingness to return” criterion, are computed. Satisfaction is compared with other factors such as correctness of answers and friendliness of library staff. Underlying problems that influence satisfaction are identified. Findings – Data from 261 in‐person and 85 virtual reference transaction accounts (both e‐mail and chat) show that virtual reference results in lower satisfaction than in‐person reference. Underlying problems that are associated with user dissatisfaction were identified in face‐to‐face reference and carry over to virtual reference, including lack of reference interviews, unmonitored referrals and failure to follow‐up. Research limitations/implications – The number of virtual reference visits is relatively small (85) compared with 261 in‐person visits. Practical implications – The reasons for ongoing failures are examined and solutions that can help improve both face‐to‐face and virtual reference are identified. Education and training of reference staff can be improved by recognition of the behavioural causes of dissatisfaction in users. Originality/value – This paper provides empirical data that compare user perceptions of in‐person and virtual reference.

Details

New Library World, vol. 107 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Robin Canuel, Sandy Hervieux, Veronica Bergsten, Amélie Brault and Rachelle Burke

The purpose of this paper is to formally assess the training program received by information studies graduate students and the reference services they provided at a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to formally assess the training program received by information studies graduate students and the reference services they provided at a research-intensive university.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative content analysis was used to evaluate if graduate students incorporated the training they received in their provision of reference services. The students’ virtual reference transcripts were coded to identify the level of questions asked, if a reference interview occurred and if different teaching methods were used by the students in their interactions. The in-person reference transactions recorded by the students were coded for the level of questions asked.

Findings

The main findings demonstrate a low frequency of reference interviews in chat interactions with a presence in only 23 per cent of instances while showing that instructional methods are highly used by graduate student reference assistants and are present in 66 per cent of chat conversations.

Originality/value

This study is of interest to academic libraries who wish to partner with information studies programs and schools to offer graduate students valuable work experience. It aims to show the value that graduate students can bring to reference services. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of continuously developing training programs and assessing the performance of graduate students working in these roles.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 47 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2007

Lili Luo

The paper seeks to present the identification of chat reference competencies, with the goal of providing behavioral objectives for professional chat reference performance.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper seeks to present the identification of chat reference competencies, with the goal of providing behavioral objectives for professional chat reference performance.

Design/methodology/approach

The competency identification effort presented in this paper consists of two parts: a thorough review of chat reference literature and interviews with a convenience sample of experienced chat reference librarians to elicit their perceptions of important chat reference competencies.

Findings

Three types of chat reference competencies are identified: core competencies for general reference, competencies for general reference but highlighted in the chat environment, and competencies specific to chat reference service.

Practical implications

The identified competencies can serve as a solid basis for the design of training and education programs for chat reference librarians.

Originality/value

This paper aggregates the discrete chat reference competency studies in the literature and generates a list of competencies requisite for chat reference that could benefit the training and education of chat reference librarians.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Keywords

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