by Thomas L. Reinsfelder
Source: College & Research Libraries (29 pages; PDF)
Note: This article was accepted on June 13, 2011 and Scheduled to Appear in the March, 2012 Issue
From the Intro:
It is not unusual for librarians to interact with undergraduates during the beginning stages of the research process. Through relatively brief instruction sessions and reference desk encounters we strive to guide students toward the use of information sources that are both highquality and appropriate for a college level course assignment. However, in later stages students do not seem to seek out assistance as readily, resulting in less interaction between student and librarian.
Discussions with faculty and students confirmed suspicions that many students are using information sources considered to be inadequate for scholarly or professional work. Information may be from a source whose credibility is questionable or may be completely undocumented.
Due to an interest in seeing more appropriate resources used in course projects, faculty/librarian partnerships were sought out in an effort to work more closely with students. One-on-one meetings, or research consultations, are one way to increase the level of interaction with students.
When one-on-one consultations are offered by librarians, they not only provide an opportunity to assist students, they also allow librarians to benefit from learning more about how students select and use information sources. This approach is especially helpful since we rarely have the opportunity to closely review student work in progress or the final product.
The present study is the first to explore a combination of one on one library research consultations and citation analysis, a method commonly used to evaluate the sources used by researchers. It is also one of the few attempts to use quantitative measures to evaluate the impact of individual research consultations.