Model Correlates Many Factors to Undergraduates’ Perceived Importance of Library and Research Activities, but Low Explanation Power Suggests More Research Needed

Diana K. Wakimoto


A Review of:
Soria, K. M. (2013). Factors predicting the importance of libraries and research activities for undergraduates. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(6), 464-470.

Objective – The purpose is to analyze characteristics and perceptions of undergraduate students to determine factors that predict the importance of library and research activities for the students.

Design – Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey questionnaire.

Setting – Nine large, public, research universities in the United States of America.

Subjects – 16,778 undergraduates who completed the form of the survey that included the academic engagement module questions.

Methods – The researcher used descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze student responses. Descriptive statistics included coding demographic, collegiate, and academic variables, as well as student perceptions of the importance of library and research activities. These were used in the inferential statistical analyses. Ordinary least squares regression and factor analysis were used to determine variables and factors that correlated to students’ perceptions of the importance of libraries and research activities.

Main Results – The response rate for the overall SERU survey was 38.1%. The results showed that the majority of students considered having access to a “world-class library collection,” learning research methods, and attending a university with “world-class researchers” to be important. The regression model explained 22.7% of variance in the importance students placed on libraries and research activities; factors important to the model covered demographics, collegiate, and academic variables. Four variables created in factor analysis (academic engagement, library skills, satisfaction with libraries and research, and faculty interactions) were significantly correlated with the importance students placed on libraries and research activities. The most important predictors in the model were: student satisfaction, interest in a research or science profession, interest in medical or health-related profession, academic engagement, and academic level.

Conclusion – Based on the results of this study, librarians should be able to tailor their marketing to specific student groups to increase the perception of importance of libraries by undergraduates. For example, more success may be had marketing to students who are Hispanic, Asian, international, interested in law, psychology or research professions as the study found these students place more importance on libraries and research activities than other groups. These students may be targeted for being peer advocates for the libraries. Further research is suggested to more fully understand factors that influence the value undergraduate students place on libraries and find ways to increase the value of libraries and research activities for those demographic groups who currently rate the importance lower.


evidence summary; undergraduate students

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