“What does a librarian do?” is a question asked of every librarian at some point in their career. Among the many hats librarians wear, we assist students and faculty with their research, present at academic conferences, and conducting our own research. Desirae Zingarelli-Sweet, Reference & Instruction Librarian for Theology, is currently working a research project, supported in part by her participation in the 2016 Institute for Research Design in Librarianship.
Desirae’s project is titled “Usability Test for Undergraduate Research Help in Philosophy and Theological Studies.” As described in her instructions for participants, “the purpose of this study is to determine how useful several library and non-library sites are for answering basic research questions in philosophy and theological studies.” Desirae notes that the responses provided by her student participants will help improve library assistance in the areas of theology and philosophy, both of which are required subjects in the LMU Core Curriculum.
The participants in Desirae’s research were randomly selected. Once they agreed to participate, they were assigned three tasks to complete either using LMU LibGuides or an FAQ platform. The survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes and once completed participants are asked to rate their experience and provide demographic information about themselves. Students who complete the survey are also given a $20 Starbucks gift card as a thank you for their help. (The purchase of these gift cards was made possible by the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) Research Incentive Grant.)
The purpose of Desirae’s research project is to help improve self-service websites students access when conducting their own research for philosophy and theology courses. The aim of this research project is to find if the questions students have are better answered by FAQs or LibGuides. Desirae wants to make research better for students at LMU.
Desirae’s research project is ongoing. Please look for an update in the future!