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(Measuring Research Impact) “I Stay Away from the Unknown, I Guess,” Measuring Impact and Understanding Critical Factors for Millennial Generation and Adult Non-Users of Virtual Reference Services

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Title: (Measuring Research Impact) “I Stay Away from the Unknown, I Guess,” Measuring Impact and Understanding Critical Factors for Millennial Generation and Adult Non-Users of Virtual Reference Services
Author(s): Radford, Marie L.; Connaway, Lynn Silipigni
Subject(s): virtual reference information seeking and use digital services mixed-method research generational differences
Abstract: This paper reports results from a large, international grant-supported project to study the evaluation of live chat virtual reference services (VRS) from user, non-user, and librarian perspectives. It focuses on results from two phases of the research, online surveys and telephone interviews for non-users. Non-users were defined as those who had never used VRS, but may be using Instant Messaging (IM) or chat for social or business purposes and may also be users of physical or digital libraries). VRS non-users completed 184 online surveys and 107 telephone interviews featuring quantitative and qualitative questions. The team used descriptive statistics for quantitative data and grounded theme analyses and the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) for qualitative data. Findings indicate that although accuracy and correct answers and the delivery of specific content were reported as the most important factors of successful reference interactions, non-users of VRS also value librarians who are knowledgeable about information sources and systems, display a positive attitude, and demonstrate good communication skills. Differences in communication and information seeking behaviors were found between Millennials and older adults. A personal relationship with a librarian was more important to Millennials who also valued the librarians? friendliness and politeness in interpersonal communications more than adults. A greater number of adults than Millennials believed that chat reference would be too complicated; therefore, chose not to use it. Results have implications for system development, improving VR practice, and for theory development.
Issue Date: 2010-02-03
Genre: Conference Paper / Presentation
Type: Text
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/14923
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-02-22
 

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