2016 Research Grant Recipients

Studies K12 Libraries – Katy Mathuews

College-readiness is of increasing importance in an environment of outcomes-based higher education funding that emphasizes student retention and graduation rates. The school library environment experienced by students during their K-12 educational years may have a direct impact on the students’ success in their academic library in the higher education environment. Using the 2016 ALAO Grant Award, Mathuews seeks to understand the physical environment, information literacy support, and staffing that students have access to in the K-12 years and how these factors might shape the students’ perception of the value and usefulness of academic libraries in higher education. Exploring these perceptions will help bridge the gap between K-12 schools and colleges and universities in the effort to increase students’ college readiness.

The study will allow for visits to each school district in Appalachian Scioto County, OH including Clay Schools, Sciotoville Community School, Green Local Schools, Minford Local Schools, Northwest School District, Notre Dame School District, Portsmouth City Schools, Bloom Vernon School District, Valley Local School District, West-Nile Local School District, Wheelersburg Local Schools, and the Career Techonology Center. Scioto County was chosen due to the high incidence of poverty in the county. In Scioto County, approximately 60% of children under 6 years old are classified as low-income or in poverty. The study interviewer will take pictures of the physical environment and make general observations about size and condition of the collection, computers available, among others factors. The interviewer will also present basic information-gathering questions to the school media specialist, librarian or other school official noting availability of support staff, types of assignments, and resources offered.

Mathuews was able to use grant money to hire early career librarian Zachary Lewis to complete the site visits and interviews and to help analyze the data. Lewis is the Access Services Librarian at Shawnee State University, located in Scioto County. The grant award covers travel costs and analysis work. To date, Mathuews and Lewis have visited 7 schools with plans to visit the remaining schools by June 2017. The project also allows Lewis to make connections for future collaborations with local K12 librarians to support student success. Early findings highlight several similarities and differences involving freshman library orientation, use of electronic sources, and access to the library space and staff. Mathuews and Lewis look forward to sharing results of the study at future conferences.

Surveying for College of Engineering – Tammy Stitz

A survey for College of Engineering faculty members and another survey for engineering graduate students were developed to explore curricular and advisor support in reviewing the literature and writing the results for student theses or dissertations.  The Research Grant from Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) provided an incentive for survey respondents.  Fifteen faculty members won a $25.00 Amazon gift card, and nine graduate students  won a $20.00 Amazon gift card.

In April 2016, an email containing the hyperlinks to the Qualtrics surveys was sent to the secretaries and administrative assistants in the biomedical, civil, computer and electrical, and mechanical engineering departments.  Twenty percent of the graduate students and 21% of the faculty responded.  Albeit a small sample, the number of respondents was greatly increased from previous survey attempts of this population, and the results indicated a need for targeted library services.

The data revealed that often individual graduate advisors must teach students how to perform and write a literature review.  Nearly all of the faculty respondents perceived that the students needed help in knowing how to synthesize information and in using in-text citations properly.  Twelve percent of graduate students indicated they needed writing assistance.  In addition, 64% of faculty indicated that students did not know where to start in finding literature, and 62% of the student respondents agreed that they need help knowing what to search to find the most literature.  Seventy-three percent of the faculty perceived that students needed assistance in determining if a reference is scholarly.  The students found organizing and formatting their references most important.  Seventy percent of students wanted assistance with reference management.  A small percentage of students and faculty did not think the students needed help.

-Elisabeth Shook, Co-Chair Research and Publications Committee, Wright State University
-Eboni Johnson, Co-Chair Research and Publications Committee, Oberlin College

This entry was posted in Vol. 36 no. 1 (March 2017) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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