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ERIC Number: EJ1064852
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0870
The Role of Synchronous Virtual Reference in Teaching and Learning: A Grounded Theory Analysis of Instant Messaging Transcripts
Passonneau, Sarah; Coffey, Dan
College & Research Libraries, v72 n3 p276-294 May 2011
Electronic communication technologies continue to change the landscape of reference services. For many users, virtual communication is the preferred means of conversing. Synchronous virtual reference, similar to other synchronous means of communication, is an important method for reaching students and for providing teaching and learning opportunities. Grounded Theory (GT) research provides a method for examining the transcripts of synchronous virtual reference. In this study, the library implemented the instant messaging (IM) application known as Meebo. Using the qualitative software ATLAS.ti, Iowa State University Library researchers uploaded, analyzed, and coded the instant messaging transcripts. From the analysis, a snapshot developed of the library's central role in educating the university community about research resources. This paper describes ongoing challenges that occur during synchronous virtual reference interviews and staff training needs that cannot be captured by number crunching alone. Synchronous virtual reference can provide essential teaching and learning experiences that complement the educational mission of most research universities.
Association of College and Research Libraries. 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iowa