A survey of randomly-selected members of the University of Manitoba community will be conducted by the Libraries during February and March 2013. The survey, known as LibQUAL+, focuses on issues of library service quality and is part of a research project led by the Association of Research Libraries.
This page provides answers to some questions you may have about the LibQUAL+ survey. For more information, please contact Marie Speare at 474-7063, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10 Questions about the LibQUAL+ Survey
1. What is the LibQUAL+ survey?
LibQUAL+ Lite is a way for the University of Manitoba Libraries to measure the value of library service quality and to get feedback about our collections and services. It is also part of a larger research project: this year over 45 academic libraries from across Canada will participate in this survey, and we will be able to compare our responses to those from other Canadian institutions. This Canadian project is part of an even larger international research and development project sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries. The goal of this international project is to define and measure library service across institutions and to create useful quality-assessment tools for libraries.
The University of Manitoba Libraries' participation has been approved through a research ethics review by the Joint Faculty Research Ethics Board. The LibQUAL+ Lite survey measures library users' perceptions of their libraries' service quality and identifies gaps between minimal, desired and perceived levels of service. The LibQUAL+ Lite asks respondents to answer 19 questions (not counting demographic items like gender and year of study).
2. Why is this survey important?
There is increasing pressure for libraries to move towards more outcome-based assessment efforts instead of relying solely on input or resource metrics. This pressure comes from funding authorities as well as users themselves. Outcome measures show how well an organization serves its users, and the University of Manitoba Libraries has been interested in finding new measures that demonstrate the Libraries' efficiency and effectiveness.
3. How will this survey benefit library users at the University of Manitoba?
By initiating action based on the results of this survey, the University of Manitoba Libraries can be more responsive to users' needs and provide services that are better aligned to users' priorities.
4. How and when is the University of Manitoba survey being conducted?
A random sample of email addresses has been drawn from the Libraries student and staff databases representing 8,000 undergraduate students, 1,200 graduate students, and 1,200 faculty members. Between February and March 2013, these individuals will receive a pre-survey email message from Karen Adams, University Librarian, advising them that they will receive the LibQUAL+ survey and encouraging them to complete it. A few days later these individuals will receive another email with an embedded URL for the actual survey. Three automatic reminder notices will be sent at weekly intervals.
The data for all participating institutions will be collected on secure servers located in the Texas A&M Library. Each response will be disaggregated as it reaches the server, and survey results will ultimately be reported back to the participating institutions as aggregate mean score data. Individual responses of participants will be wholly confidential.
There will be no compensation per se for completing the survey, though incentives will be offered to improve the response rates. At the end of the web-based survey, respondents may elect to include an email address which will enter them in a random drawing for an iPad mini and one of two $50 University of Manitoba Bookstore gift certificates. Prize winners will be announced shortly after the close of the survey.
5. What survey instrument is being used?
The LibQUAL+ survey is patterned after the SERVQUAL instrument developed by Leonard L. Berry, A. Parasuraman, and Valerie A. Zeithami, which is used extensively in private industry. LibQUAL+ Lite is a shorter version of the survey, asking only 19 questions rather than 34. Respondents are asked to respond to each question on three separate scales, representing minimum, desired, and perceived levels of service. Average response time for the survey is thirteen minutes.
The survey is straightforward and involves no deception or coercion. Your participation is important to the reliability of the information we collect. Your responses will be kept confidential. No identifying links will be retained between your responses and your email address. Only combined data will be reported and we will not distribute your email address to any other organization. You are free to withdraw from the survey, at any time, without prejudice or consequence.
6. Is the survey exclusively web-based, or can I complete a paper version?
7. Must I be part of the random sample to complete a survey?
Yes, in order to maintain a random sample, only those contacted may complete the LibQUAL+ survey. The University of Manitoba Libraries always appreciates feedback from its users. You may direct your message to the University Librarian or the head of any of the University of Manitoba Libraries, by using the links on the Contact Us web page.
8. Why are the questions so similar?
This is a multi-year research project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, to develop and refine a survey instrument capable of wide scale application in an academic library community. The survey tests a variety of dimensions of library service, each represented by multiple (and seemingly redundant) questions. The use of multiple/redundant questions allows us to analyze the validity of each dimension through statistical means. Over time, questions that are not as effective as others in measuring the specific dimensions of service quality identified in this survey will be discarded.
9. Why are reminders sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?
In general, reminders are sent because research indicates that the single highest predictor of response rates in web-based surveys is the number of contacts made, including reminders. The fact that reminders are sent to all respondents, including those who have already completed the survey, is a result of the project's built-in mechanisms for security and confidentiality. Once a return is submitted to the project server, its contents are disaggregated and disassociated from the respondent's email address. This provides maximum security, but precludes any differentiation of respondents/non-respondents among the sample. Thus, everyone gets a reminder.
10. Why are we doing the survey again?
The University of Manitoba Libraries is continuing to participate in the LibQUAL+ survey as part of an ongoing assessment program. The first LibQUAL survey was run at the University of Manitoba in 2003. In 2007 and 2010, the University of Manitoba Libraries participated as part of a Canada-wide consortium of 60 libraries which allowed us to benchmark our results with a group of peer institutions and to provide aggregate scores for participating Canadian institutions. The nation-wide survey is being conducted again in 2013.
For more information, please contact Marie Speare at 474-7063, or by email at email@example.com