Frequently Asked Questions

Completing the Survey

  1. How long will the survey take?
  2. Can I skip questions that don't apply to me?
  3. Will there be any special incentives for participating?
  4. What Web browsers are supported for the survey
  5. Is the survey exclusively web-based, or can I complete a paper version?
  6. Is there a version of the survey compatible with text-to-speech web browsers?
  7. Why isn't the survey at a Sonoma State University Web address?
  8. If I deleted the email can I still take the survey?
  9. What if I cannot open the URL from my email?
  10. Who is selected to complete the survey?
  11. Why does the survey seem to repeat the same question(s)?
  12. Why are reminders sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?
  13. What discipline category should I choose for my area or major?

LibQUAL+ Survey Overview

  1. What is the LibQUAL+ survey?
  2. What does the survey measure?
  3. How will this survey benefit the Sonoma State community?
  4. How and when is the survey being conducted?
  5. Are responses confidential?
  6. What survey instrument is being used?
  7. Do all libraries use the same questions?
  8. What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL+?
  9. How can I get more information about LibQUAL+?

Results

  1. What will be done with the survey results?
  2. What information is shared with other institutions?
  3. What do the survey results look like?
  4. Where and when will results be posted?

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Completing the Survey

  1. How long will the survey take?
    The survey typically takes from 8 to 13 minutes to complete.
  2. Can I skip questions that don't apply to me?
    No, please do not skip any questions in the LibQUAL+ survey. If you do not wish to answer a question or feel a question does not apply to you, select NA (not applicable). Surveys whose core questions are not completely filled out are not counted in the aggregate scores.
  3. Will there be any special incentives for participating?
    Yes! The University Library will be offering incentive prizes. At the end of the web-based survey, respondents may elect to include an email address, which will enter them in a drawing. Since this survey is usually only given every 3 years, the library is offering many incentive prizes in the hopes of receiving as strong a response as possible. This year the drawing will be for one of 2 iPod nanos or one of 40 $20 iTunes gift cards. Winners will be announced in mid-April on our "At the Library" blog. The iPods will be available for pickup at the Library but iTunes gift cards will be delivered via email.
  4. What Web browsers are supported for the survey?
    Any browser should work so long as it is not too old.
  5. Is the survey exclusively web-based, or can I complete a paper version?
    Respondents not able to complete an online questionnaire may obtain a paper copy of the survey by downloading the print version from SSU Library's web site
  6. Is the survey compatible with text-to-speech web browsers?
    Yes, the survey is compatible with the JAWS screen reader software.
  7. Why isn't the survey at a Sonoma State University Web address?
    The survey is administered through the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and Texas A & M University, and the survey and data are housed on secure Texas A & M servers.
  8. If I deleted the email can I still take the survey?
    Yes. You can get another copy of the web link. Contact Brandon Dudley, LibQUAL+ Project Coordinator, brandon.dudley@sonoma.edu,.
  9. What if I cannot open the URL from my email?
    If you have trouble opening the URL from within your email message, you can copy the URL and paste it into your Web browser.
  10. Who is selected to complete the survey?
    This year, the University Library is giving our entire campus population, all faculty, staff and students, a chance to give us much needed feedback so that we can better establish priorities, improve collections and services, and determine the needs of the entire campus.
  11. Why does the survey seem to repeat the same question(s)?
    The survey examines a variety of dimensions of library services, each represented by a number of questions. Repetition or redundancy in questions allows the survey designers to analyze the validity of each service quality dimension through statistical methods.
  12. Why are reminders sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?
    Due to security and confidentiality features, everyone surveyed will receive reminders, even those who have already responded. When submitted, survey responses and identifying information are immediately separated, so we have no way of knowing who has already responded. Reminders, therefore, are distributed to everyone in the survey group.
    Reminders are also sent because research indicates that the single highest predictor of response rates in web-based surveys is the number of contacts made, including reminders.
  13. What discipline category should I choose for my major or area of research?
    Because this is a multi-institution survey, discipline categories have been standardized for ease of comparison. This will assist with future benchmarking activities. If you are in an interdisciplinary field or in doubt as to what discipline you should select from the drop-down list on the survey, select "Interdisciplinary" or "Other". Staff not engaged in discipline-based research may choose "Other".

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LibQUAL+ Survey Overview

  1. What is the LibQUAL+ survey?
    Service quality has always been the focus of libraries; LibQUAL+ is intended to provide a measure of the value of library service quality across multiple academic and research libraries. The current LibQUAL+ instrument measures library users' perceptions of their libraries' service quality and identifies gaps between minimal, desired and perceived levels of service.
    LibQUAL+ is a suite of services that libraries use to solicit, track, understand, and act upon users' opinions of service quality. These services are offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The program's centerpiece is a rigorously tested Web-based survey bundled with training that helps libraries assess and improve library services, change organizational culture, and market the library.
  2. What does the survey measure?
    The instrument addresses three service quality dimensions that have been found to be valid in previous assessments of library services: Affect of Service, Library as Place, and Information Control. Each question has three parts that ask respondents to indicate (1) the minimum service level they will accept, (2) the desired service level they expect, and (3) the perceived level of service currently provided. This design will permit analysis of gaps between expectations, perception, and minimum acceptance level of service.
  3. How will this survey benefit the Sonoma State community?
    This survey will allow the University Library to identify areas needing improvement, while at the same time allowing us to compare our service quality with other peer institutions, develop benchmarks, and incorporate best practices. The survey results will allow the University Library to be more responsive to users' needs and provide services that are better aligned to users' expectations.
  4. How and when is the survey being conducted?
    Since our goal is to get feedback from our entire campus population, all faculty, staff and students will receive a pre-survey email message in their SSU email accounts on Monday, February 26, 2007, from Barbara Butler, Library Dean, advising them that they will soon receive a web-based "Library Service Quality Survey."  Seven days later, on Monday, March 5, 2007, the Library Dean will send another email with an embedded URL for the actual survey. Automatic reminder notices will be sent the following weeks. The survey will close on Sunday, March 25, 2007.
    The data will be collected on a secure server located in the Texas A&M University Library. Each response will be stored separately as it reaches the server, and survey results will ultimately be reported back to the participating institutions as aggregate mean score data.

    The University Library will receive initial results in May 2007, and will share final results with the campus community by the fall 2007.
  5. Are responses confidential?
    Yes. The LibQUAL+ approach to confidentiality is guided by the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association (see http://www.apa.org/ethics/code.html, section 5). Although some information is captured from respondents, such as network and email address, privacy is protected in two ways. First, only very indirect information is captured which would be difficult to trace back to an individual. Second, everything possible is done to separate personal information from survey responses.

    Email addresses are not saved with the responses, and once they are saved, such as for the incentive drawing, there is no way to link an individual's responses back to their email address -- assuring confidentiality when entering the incentive drawing. After the drawing, the email addresses are discarded.
  6. What survey instrument is being used?
    The LibQUAL+ survey evolved from a conceptual model based on the SERVQUAL instrument, a popular tool for assessing service quality in the private sector grounded in the "Gap Theory of Service Quality". It was developed by Leonard L. Berry (Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University), A. Parasuraman, and Valarie A. Zeithaml. The Texas A&M University Libraries and other libraries used modified SERVQUAL instruments for several years; those applications revealed the need for a newly adapted tool that would serve the particular requirements of libraries. From 1999, ARL, representing the largest research libraries in North America, partnered with Texas A&M University Libraries to develop, test, and refine LibQUAL+. This effort was supported in part by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).
    The questionnaire is straightforward and involves no deception or coercion. Potential respondents may elect not to proceed with the survey after reading the guarantees of confidentiality and privacy.
  7. Do all libraries use the same questions?
    All libraries participating in the 2007 LibQUAL+ survey will use the same 22 core questions and demographic questions. In addition, each Library may select 5 optional "local" questions.
  8. What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL
    For a complete list of all 2007 participants, see http://www.LibQUAL.org/Information/Participants/index.cfm.  Most libraries do not administer this survey every year.  This website provides yearly data on participants as well.
  9. How can I get more information about LibQUAL+?
    For more information, see the LibQUAL+(TM) homepage at http://www.libqual.org/. To e-mail the national headquarters for LibQUAL+, contact the Association for Research Libraries at LibQUAL@arl.org.

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Results

  1. What will be done with the survey results?
    Survey data are transmitted directly from the LibQUAL+ server to a database. The data are then analyzed and reports are generated for individual libraries that provide information on how users perceive the quality of their service. Participating institutions will have access to summary results for each institution, allowing for comparisons among peer institutions and all participating academic institutions. This will aid in developing benchmarks and understanding best practices across institutions, and will help the University Library to align services with user expectations.
  2. What information is shared with other institutions?
    Only summary aggregate statistics are shared with other institutions. The summary results will be made available to participants via the World Wide Web on a password-protected Web site. Users' comments (from the comments section) will be made available only to the respondents' institution.
  3. What do the survey results look like?
    Survey results will include aggregate summaries, demographics by library, item summaries, dimension summaries, and dimensions measured for survey implementation.
  4. Where and when will results be posted?
    The results of the 2007 survey will be compiled and posted on the University Library's website.  The 2007 results will also be announced in SSU's Newsbytes and on our "At the Library" blog, found on the Library's homepage http://library.sonoma.edu/.