Year of Publication

2010

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Eggen

Third Advisor

Dr. John Venn

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the valuation process of community college library end-users as they decide which information resources to use when conducting research. This study was designed as an exploratory study using Q methodology and focused on five specific information resources that community college library end-users routinely use in their research process: the Internet, the reference librarian, books, newspapers, and subscription databases. Little is known about the valuation hierarchy that end-users overlay on these resources when deciding which ones to use to address a specific research need.

Sixty-four community college library end-users from four main campuses of a large community college sorted 40 statements describing specific value statements pertaining to the information resources under study. The statements were sorted along a continuum ranging from least like me (-4) to most like me (+4) with 0 representing an opinion of neutrality. Following these procedures, five factors emerged that represented different perspectives on value relating to the five information resources under study. Interpretation of these factors yielded distinct patterns of opinion relating to the perceived value of each information resource. These factors were named: (a) Browsers, (b) Proficient, (c) Vacillators, (d) Bibliophiles, and (e) Traditionalists.

The results of the study suggest that community college library end-users value, to varying degrees, all five of the information resources selected for this study. The results also suggest that while the Internet has become a dominant information resource in the community college library end-user's research process, other more traditional information resources such as the reference librarian, books, and, to a lesser extent, newspapers still hold value in the research process. The perspectives described and the interpretation provided in this study can greatly assist community college library end-users in the valuation of available community college library information resources.

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