Listening and learning: myths and misperceptions about postgraduate students and library support
Smith, Shiobhan Alice; Lubcke, Antje; Alexander, Dean; Thompson, Kate; Ballard, Christy; Glasgow, Fiona
Purpose The University of Otago Library conducted a review of its postgraduate support program in 2018. The purpose of this paper is to report on the findings of a questionnaire and follow up focus group undertaken as part of the review. It highlights postgraduate student preferences for learning about support services, their ideas on marketing these services effectively and the kind of engagement that works best for them. Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire was developed and deployed in July 2018. It contained 20 questions and was emailed to 2,430 enrolled Otago doctorate and master’s students by the University of Otago (GRS). A total of 564 responded, 391 completing all questions. A follow-up focus group was held in August 2018. Quantitative data were collected and analyzed using Qualtrics software and qualitative data were coded and analyzed using NVivo software. Findings Respondents highlighted the difficulty they have learning what support services are available to them. In some cases, they also feel a stigma when seeking help because of their status as postgraduate students. They suggest practical ways libraries can better reach out to them. The findings confirm previous literature about the need for libraries to improve marketing of their services to postgraduate students, communicate via supervisors and departments where possible and provide a variety of engagement options. Originality/value Before (re)developing postgraduate programs, libraries can gain valuable insights and test assumptions by surveying students.
Rights Statement: Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) Published copy available online: Smith, S., Lubcke, A., Alexander, D., Thompson, K., Ballard, C. and Glasgow, F. (2019), "Listening and learning: myths and misperceptions about postgraduate students and library support", Reference Services Review, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/RSR-03-2019-0019 AAM is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0) licence. Any reuse is allowed in accordance with the terms outlined by the licence. To reuse the AAM for commercial purposes, permission should be sought by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keywords: Academic Libraries; University Libraries; Graduates; Library users; Library services; Librarians; Outreach; Doctoral students; Postgraduate; Master's students; Subject Librarian; Support programme
Research Type: Journal Article
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