Reference Mode Preferences of Community College (Two-Year) and Four-Year College Students: A Comparison Study

  • John Carey Hunter College, City University of New York
  • Ajatshatru Pathak Hunter College, City University of New York
Keywords: reference services, reference mode preferences, community college students, face-to-face reference, online chat reference, e-mail reference, text messaging reference,

Abstract

Abstract

Objective – The purpose of this study was to examine the reference service mode preferences of community college (two-year) and four-year college students.

Methods – The researchers administered a paper-based, face-to-face questionnaire at two institutions within the City University of New York system: Hunter College, a senior college, and Queensborough Community College, a two-year institution. During the summer of 2015, the researchers surveyed 79 participants, asking them to identify their most and least preferred mediums for accessing library reference services.

Results – Nearly 75% of respondents expressed a preference for face-to-face reference, while only about 18% preferred remote reference services (online chat, e-mail, text message, and telephone). Close to 84% of the participants cited remote reference services as their least preferred modes and slightly more than 10% said this of face-to-face. The data reveal a widespread popularity of face-to-face reference service among all types of participants regardless of institutional affiliation, age, gender, academic level, field of study, and race or ethnicity.

Conclusion – This study suggests that given the opportunity academic library users will utilize face-to-face reference service for assistance with research assignments. Academic libraries at both two-year and four-year institutions might consider assessing user views on reference modes and targeting support toward services that align with patron preferences.

Author Biographies

John Carey, Hunter College, City University of New York
Associate Professor, Library Head, Health Professions Library
Ajatshatru Pathak, Hunter College, City University of New York
Assistant Professor, Library Health and Informatics Librarian
Published
2017-03-15
How to Cite
Carey, J., & Pathak, A. (2017). Reference Mode Preferences of Community College (Two-Year) and Four-Year College Students: A Comparison Study. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 12(1), 50-71. https://doi.org/10.18438/B8VW40
Section
Research Articles