Assessment in Action

Wayne State University: Project Description

Page 1


Primary Outcome Examined (select one or more)

(No) Student Learning: Assignment

(No) Student Learning: Course

(No) Student Learning: Major

(No) Student Learning: Degree

(No) Student Engagement

Student Success

(No) Academic Intimacy/Rapport

(No) Enrollment

(No) Retention

(No) Completion

(No) Graduation

(No) Articulation

(No) Graduates' Career Success

(No) Testing (e.g., GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CAAP, CLA, MAPP)

Other (please describe)

We examined themes related to factors in student success (learning and confidence) as reported in interviews with students.

Primary Library Factor Examined (select one or more)

(No) Instruction

(No) Instruction: Games

(No) Instruction: One Shot

(No) Instruction: Course Embedded

(No) Instruction: Self-Paced Tutorials


(No) Educational Role (other than reference or instruction)

(No) Space, Physical

(No) Discovery (library resources integrated in institutional web and other information portals)

(No) Discovery (library resource guides)

(No) Discovery (from preferred user starting points)

(No) Collections (quality, depth, diversity, format or currency)

(No) Personnel (number and quality)

Other (please describe)

Specifically, we examined specialized reference support, the research consultation with a librarian.

Student Population (select one or more)



(No) Incoming

(No) Graduating

(No) Pre-College/Developmental/Basic Skills

(No) Other (please describe)

Discipline (select one or more)

(No) Arts


(No) Social Sciences

Natural Sciences (i.e., space, earth, life, chemistry or physics)

Formal Sciences (i.e., computer science, logic, mathematics, statistics or systems science)

Professions/Applied Sciences

(No) English Composition

General Education

(No) Information Literacy Credit Course

Other (please describe)

These disciplines were represented in the study participants we interviewed.

AiA Team Members (select one or more)

Assessment Office

(No) Institutional Research

Teaching Faculty

(No) Writing Center

(No) Information/Academic Technology

(No) Student Affairs

Campus Administrator

Library Administrator

Other Librarian

(No) Other (please describe)

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Methods and Tools (select one or more)

(No) Survey


(No) Focus Group(s)

(No) Observation

(No) Pre/Post Test

(No) Rubric

(No) Other (please describe)

Direct Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Student Portfolio

(No) Research Paper/Project

(No) Class Assignment (other than research paper/project)

Other (please describe)

Interview transcripts

Indirect Data Type (select one or more)

(No) Test Scores

(No) GPA

(No) Degree Completion Rate

(No) Retention Rate

(No) Other (please describe)

Page 3

Executive Summary (150 words open)

  • How does the project align with your institution’s priorities and needs?
  • Why did you choose the outcome and library factor as areas to examine?
  • Why was the team composition appropriate?

  1. Student success is a priority at our university and central to its strategic plan. While the library has data on resource use, we have little evidence that services like instruction and reference contribute to student success, so we identified Student Success as the outcome and our popular research consultations as the factor to study. We undertook a qualitative study using interviews with the research question: How do students describe the experience of a research consultation with a librarian and its value to them?

    The project team included librarians familiar with research consultations, our Assessment Librarian, the Associate Dean, the Marketing and Communications Director, and two campus team members who were largely advisory, offering essentials on study scope, design, and strategy. This combination of talents produced an effective blend of expertise in study design and assessment, and invaluable assistance with poster design and the communication needs of the study.

  • What are the significant contributions of your project?
  • What was learned about assessing the library’s impact on student learning and success?
  • What was learned about creating or contributing to a culture of assessment on campus?
  • What, if any, are the significant findings of your project?

  1. Our project makes two significant contributions: first, it contributes to the “culture of assessment” in our library system and, second, it is the first attempt to investigate the library’s role in student success. We learned from our Campus Partners on the project team to start with a manageable qualitative study before embarking on a large scale survey. We gained a voice in the campus conversation on general education revision; invited to a focus group, we will use project data to advocate for information literacy as a general education outcome. In an upcoming meeting with the university’s Coordinator of Assessment we will discuss the library’s role in campus-wide assessment. Our study found that students who had completed an in-person research consultation with a librarian reported Learning (a new resource, service or skill) and increased Confidence in doing research, two factors contributing to greater success in completing research assignments.

  • What will you change as a result of what you learned (– e.g., institutional activities, library functions or practices, personal/professional practice, other)?
  • How does this project contribute to current, past, or future assessment activities on your campus?

  1. Our project taught us that students have a very different and underdeveloped vocabulary for talking about the library research process, which sensitizes us to the need for careful construction of survey questions for the next step in our “culture of assessment.” A survey of the study body will investigate library engagement and student success and provide data for our upcoming Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Self Study and accreditation visit. What we learned has also prompted us to plan a regular feedback evaluation form for the research consultation service, which we hope will provide more data on student success and identify areas for improvement. Students reported that we needed to market our research consultation service more aggressively, and we have since added advertising on the library’s homepage and a request button in the Ask-a-Librarian service. We have already begun to see results in online requests for appointments.

Please list any articles published, presentations given, URL of project website, and team leader contact details.

  1. Team Leader:

    Project LibGuide:

final_aia_poster.pdf Librarian Research Consultations & Student Success: How do students describe the experience of the research consultation and its value to them?