All entries for Friday 02 December 2005

December 02, 2005

Psychology survey results (and continuing network problems)

Our work server continues to splutter and die at the most inconvenient times which really isn't helping make the process of analysing and writing up the results of my current psychology investigation any easier.

However, there are some early results that I thought I'd share. The project (as I'm sure avid readers of this blog will remember) is the second phase of an investigation into psychology students and their perceptions, needs and requirements as they pertain to their directed reading list. We were comparing some of the attitudes that last year's cohort showed, but also investigating some new areas dealing with the student self-perceptions of their information literacy aptitudes.

What seems to be coming out is to a degree not that surprising. For a start it seems the students are largely happy with their ability to locate information outside of the reading list using the library catalogue, Google and PsychInfo (in that order), but as ever are struggling to find enough books. Whether that's books on the reading list or appropriate books in general is not clear unfortunately – and a question for another day.

However, what is interesting (certainly in terms of encouraging engagement with the research led collections here at Warwick) is the degree to which students have switched to considering journal articles as of greater value. Last time only 16.2% of our sample considered journal articles to be the most valuable reading list items. This time it has rocketed to 28.8% of the sample. Ok, books are still winding the day overall, but their market share has been slashed. To a fair degree this says that 2nd year psych students are happy to engage with journals – which from a library point of view supports the notion that reading lists containing more journal articles are valued by the students, and thanks to our extensive ejournal collections materials that we can make more readily available (than the book collections) to all.

Naturally, this is just one department and indeed two cohorts of students and further study would be needed to discover if this perception was true in more faculties/depts – but it is an interesting start. What the dept decides to do with the final report (out early next week) and the library though is in the purview of senior management, and not something for this humble researcher to dictate!


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