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ERIC Number: ED311894
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Apr-17
Pages: 46
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Accuracy at the Reference Desk: An Unobtrusive Study.
Beck, Larry; And Others
This unobtrusive study examined whether the accuracy of reference service provided by student reference assistants (SRAs) and full-time paraprofessional department assistants (DAs) at the Brigham Young University library had improved since 1987. The effects of the following factors on accuracy were also considered: (1) whether a question was answered by an SRA or DA; (2) whether the SRA or DA consulted with other staff members in answering a question; (3) the time taken to answer a question; (4) the situation at the reference desk at the time a question was asked; (5) the manner in which a question was dealt with; and (6) whether the SRA or DA cited the sources used in answering the question. The population consisted of 29 SRAs and 5 DAs working at 5 reference desks. Proxies asked 122 questions to test various aspects of reference services. Data indicated that the overall accuracy rate of SRAs and DAs had not improved significantly since 1987. Of the other factors examined, only the manner in which the question was dealt with by the SRA or DA was found to be significant. More consistency in policy and training was recommended to increase the level of efficiency at the reference desks. The list of questions, proxy instructions, and proxy report form are appended. (19 references) (MES)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A