Assessing the impact of reference services provided to undergraduate students

Jo Ann Jacoby, Nancy P. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes a study assessing the impact of reference services on undergraduate students. The study targeted undergraduates receiving nondirectional reference assistance, yielding sixty-nine survey responses and five follow-up interviews. Three outcomes were examined: (1) Do undergraduate students perceive the reference staff as being friendly and approachable? (2) Do they learn something during the course of the reference interaction? and (3) Do they feel more confident about their ability to find information after the reference interaction than they did before? Our findings suggest that reference services can play a significant role in helping students become confident, independent information seekers. Correlations between variables and a multiple regression model further indicate that friendliness of the reference staff was one of the best predictors of students' confidence in their ability to find information on their own. These outcomes are particularly salient in a college and university environment where building skills for independent information exploration is a primary goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-340
Number of pages17
JournalCollege and Research Libraries
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessing the impact of reference services provided to undergraduate students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this