ERIC Number: ED405878
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of IT in Library Evaluation: Electronic Surveying at the University of Newcastle.
Webster, Keith G.
The challenge in survey methodology is to conduct studies as effectively and efficiently as possible. The University of Newcastle upon Tyne (England) has taken advantage of information technology (IT) developments to improve the conduct of in-house surveys. A surveying mechanism tied to the library OPAC (online public access catalog), accessible by users both inside and outside the library, was devised to dispense with the pencil and paper approach of surveying users and provide responses instantaneously in machine readable form. The library implemented an electronic surveying system that allowed: determination of respondent identity; screen layout to be designed by the library; comparison of composition of sample with whole user population; automatic analysis of multiple choice responses; opportunity for users to quit the survey at any time to return to the OPAC; analysis of number of users quitting at each stage of the survey; and logging of users' locations when completing the survey. The first test of the electronic survey system achieved a response rate of less than 10%, with one-third of responses received from OPAC users outside the library. Low survey participation may be due to: (1) the survey period falling immediately before the examination period when students may have other time pressures; (2) people may not have realized the survey consisted of only five questions; and (3) patrons use the OPAC for a specific purpose, so when given the option to quit the survey to return to the OPAC, they do so quickly. An appendix shows sample survey screens. (SWC)
Descriptors: Academic Libraries, Data Collection, Evaluation Methods, Foreign Countries, Higher Education, Information Technology, Library Research, Library Services, Library Surveys, Measurement Techniques, Online Catalogs, Online Systems, Research Methodology, Screen Design (Computers), Technological Advancement, Use Studies, Users (Information)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Newcastle upon Tyne)