C & RL Spotlight

Wendi Kaspar

The slate of articles in the November 2016 issue of College & Research Libraries is one that is of particular interest—both in its variety and in its efforts to cross academic boundaries: drawing core theories from the education, social science, and management literature; examining the ways in which transformative scholarship and learning take place within subject disciplines; and questioning traditional paradigms and cultural norms. A couple of these articles are grounded in foundational theories, which provide a valuable framework to examine the ongoing changes happening in the profession and in academia. These theories greatly resemble a brief list of recommended readings for librarians doing research or teaching others how to do research.

Maria Pinto and Rosaura Fernandez Pascual’s study, “Exploring LIS Students’ Beliefs in Importance and Self-Efficacy of Information Literacy Competencies” gives a nod to Albert Bandura, a psychologist who studied the effect that a person’s belief in his or her ability to accomplish something has on their ability to actually accomplish it, and on their willingness to approach challenges.1 Bandura also contributed to social cognitive theory with Triadic Reciprocal Determinism,2 the concept that behavior, personal factors, and environmental factors each influence and are influenced by the others. This theory is a widely used across applied disciplines, particularly in studies that address motivation as a component.

Shea-Tinn Yeh and Zhiping Walter acknowledge Clayton Christensen’s theory with their paper entitled “Determinants of Service Innovation in Academic Libraries through the Lens of Disruptive Innovation.” Christensen’s theory on Disruptive Innovation3 was published in the mid-90s, addressing how the transformative influence of some creations is at first mistrusted by the status quo but ultimately sets a new standard within (and, at times, across) industries. Another classic is Everett Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations,4 first published in 1962 but updated and revised to keep pace with the changes technologies have made on society, particularly the Internet. It discusses how and why new ideas spread and provided the terms that describe how quickly adopt technology (i.e., innovators, early adopters, laggards, etc.)

Lastly, the editorial in this issue introduces a series examining the peer review model in scholarship, how it is evolving, and what the implications are for emerging scholarly models and standards of quality in practice. Subsequent editorials will be authored by guest editors in each issue of the 2017 volume year, examining:

  • evolving models of peer review,
  • peer review of best practice,
  • peer review for datasets,
  • open peer review/developmental peer review,
  • peer review of professional skills,
  • peer review of digital scholarship, and
  • Who will review the reviewers?

These editorials will be revised and expanded, serving as anchoring chapters for a collection to be published by ACRL. The November editorial also serves as a Call for Papers, seeking best practices and innovations in peer review to be considered for inclusion in this collection.

  • Jason M. Blank, Karen J. McGaughey, Elena L. Keeling, Kristen L. Thorp, Conor C. Shannon, and Jeanine M. Scaramozzino. “A Novel Assessment Tool for Quantitative Evaluation of Science Literature Search Performance: Application to First-Year and Senior Undergraduate Biology Majors.” Abstract: Expertise in searching and evaluating scientific literature is a requisite skill of trained scientists and science students, yet information literacy instruction varies greatly among institutions and programs. To ensure that science students acquire information literacy skills, robust methods of assessment are needed. Here, we describe a novel tool for longitudinal, crossover assessment of literature-searching skills in science students and apply it to a cross-sectional assessment of literature-searching performance in 145 first-year and 43 senior biology majors. Subjects were given an open-ended prompt requiring them to find multiple sources of information addressing a particular scientific topic. A blinded scorer used a rubric to score the resources identified by the subjects and generate numerical scores for source quality, source relevance, and citation quality. Two versions of the assessment prompt were given to facilitate eventual longitudinal study of individual students in a crossover design. Seniors were significantly more likely to find relevant, peer-reviewed journal articles, provide appropriate citations, and provide correct answers to other questions about scientific literature. This assessment tool accommodates large numbers of students and can be modified easily for use in other disciplines or at other levels of education.
  • Maria Pinto and Rosaura Fernandez Pascual. “Exploring LIS Students’ Beliefs in Importance and Self-Efficacy of Core Information Literacy Competencies.” Abstract: Understanding perceptions of Library and Information Science (LIS) students on two dimensions—belief in the importance (BIM) of a set of core information competencies and Self-Efficacy (SE)—is pursued. Factor analysis implementation raises a clear distinction between BIM and SE results. This analysis points to two sets of competencies: principal competencies reflected the most positive insights from students, while the secondary ones were the most weakly perceived and consequently the most in need of encouragement. This is one of the few studies on the subjective profile of LIS students, including improvement initiatives relating to the weakest competencies.
  • Shin Freedman and Dawn Vreven. “Workplace Incivility and Bullying in the Library: Perception or Reality?” Abstract: Recent media reports have increased awareness of workplace incivility and bullying. However, the literature regarding workplace incivility and bullying in academic libraries is underreported and underresearched. This study examines the current state of librarians’ perceptions on workplace incivility and bullying and evaluates the effects of bullying from organizational and individual perspectives. Bullying was measured based on the librarian’s responses to the Negative Acts Questionnaire, including both experienced bullying and witnessed bullying. The authors introduce a conceptual framework to understand the motivating structures, precipitating circumstances, and enabling structures that lead to bullying in the library. A statistical analysis using a regression model revealed several factors that influenced bullying, including a librarian’s ethnicity, the number of years worked in the library, the type of institution, and a librarian’s academic status. The findings can be useful for discussions of improving workplace climate, increasing retention and recruitment for academic librarians, and helping early career librarians throughout the promotion and tenure processes.
  • Erin Rinto, Melissa Bowles-Terry, and Ariel J. Santos. “Assessing the Scope and Feasibility of First-Year Students’ Research Paper Topics.” Abstract: This study applied a content analysis methodology in two ways to evaluate first-year students’ research topics: a rubric to examine proposed topics in terms of scope, development, and the “researchability” of the topic, as well as textual analysis, using ATLAS.ti, to provide an overview of the types of subjects students select for a persuasive research essay. Results indicated that students struggle with defining an appropriate and feasible focus for their topics and that they often select topics related to education, health, and the environment. These findings were used to implement a new information literacy instruction model that better supports student topic development.
  • Jannette L. Finch and Angela R. Flenner. “Using Data Visualization to Examine an Academic Library Collection.” Abstract: The authors generated data visualizations to compare sections of the library book collection, expenditures in those areas, student enrollment in majors and minors, and number of courses. The visualizations resulting from the entered data provide an excellent starting point for conversations about possible imbalances in the collection and point to areas that are either more developed or less developed than is needed to support the major and minor areas of study at the university. The methodology used should offer a template to follow for others wishing to examine their collection and may prove valuable for adjusting expenditures, suggesting service opportunities, or for marketing pieces of the collection that had been hidden before graphical analysis.
  • Shannon Marie Robinson. “Artists as Scholars: The Research Behavior of Dance Faculty.” Abstract: The research behaviors and library use of dance scholars are widely unknown, particularly in regard to issues of access to historical materials and new technology preferences. In the past 30 years, college and university dance departments in the United States have developed into independent, research-based programs. Despite the lack of current research examining the information needs of dance scholars, academic librarians must support the performance, research, and pedagogy of these programs. Interviews with dance faculty from three diverse institutions of higher education provide exploratory data about these scholars’ research needs. This qualitative study provides context for dance faculty experiences as both artists and teachers.
  • Shea-Tinn Yeh and Zhiping Walter. “Determinants of Service Innovation in Academic Libraries through the Lens of Disruptive Innovation.” Abstract: With the development of digital technologies, various disruptive innovations have emerged that are gradually replacing academic libraries in the information-seeking process. As academic libraries become less relevant to their users, it is imperative that they develop strategies to respond to disruption. We highlight the fact that the service mission of academic libraries is in alignment with service innovation and propose that academic libraries respond to disruption by accelerating service innovation. Applying the Resources-Processes-Values framework, we recommend that, to facilitate service innovation, high-level administrators become innovation leaders, foster an innovation-supportive culture, tie performance evaluations and rewards to innovation outcomes, and create dedicated innovation teams with high levels of decision-making autonomy. We also recommend that academic libraries involve their users and build partnerships with other libraries and with commercial communities to bring about service innovation necessary to respond to disruption.

1 Bandura, A. , Self-efficacy (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1994 ).
2 Bandura, A. , “The self system in reciprocal determinism. ,” American psychologist, 33(4), 344-58 –.
3 Christensen, C.. , “The innovator’s dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. ,” Harvard Business Review Press ( 2013 ).
4 Rogers, EM.. , Diffusion of innovations (Simon and Schuster, 2010 ).
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