7
Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 290 2017
academic librarians collect “systematic, coherent, and connected evidence
to establish the role of libraries in student learning”15 and the clear
imperatives created by internal and external stakeholders for colleges and
universities to demonstrate their contribution to students’ development.
Our study works to apply large-scale data collection, including course-
integrated instruction, workshops, and one-shots, but also the multitude
of experiences students have with the libraries, which support their
learning—from using a database or e-book to chatting with a librarian.
Instead of focusing on
the direct measure (e.g.,
grades) in a course, this
methodology takes a
10,000-foot view and
makes correlations to
the bigger, rich pictures
of what academic
libraries have to offer
and how they contribute to undergraduate student learning outcomes
as outlined by campus strategic plans and accreditation bodies. We
are following Oakleaf’s construct, that “because libraries exist within
educational institutions, it might be argued than nearly all library
resources and services contribute, directly or indirectly, to learning.”16
The purpose of this study is therefore to explore the impact of
library resources on first-year college students’ development of
learning outcomes. We utilized quasi-experimental procedures
(propensity score matching techniques) to construct control (non-
library users) and treatment (library users) groups similar to those
found in randomized experiments. We took these steps to reduce the
potential bias found within students’ self-selection to use specific
library resources. In this study, we explored the average treatment
effect to examine differences in learning between students who used
academic library resources (the “treatment” group) and those who
did not use academic library resources (the “control” group).
Instead of focusing on the direct measure
(e.g., grades) in a course, this methodology
takes a 10,000-foot view and makes correla-
tions to the bigger, rich pictures of what
academic libraries have to offer and how
they contribute to undergraduate student
learning outcomes as outlined by campus
strategic plans and accreditation bodies.
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