Faculty Survey

Write-ups for Assessment Committee meeting, 11/17/09

Faculty Survey

We all agreed identify what we want to learn from the faculty survey by category

Library Services (David)

General Goals:  

  1. Identify which services are not meeting the faculty's needs/expectations, so we can fix the problem.  To identify these problems, it would help to know which services are important to the faculty, and how satisfied they are with these services.  For services where they are dissatisfied, it would help to know why.
  2. Identify which services are not important to the faculty, for possible cutbacks.
  3. Identify successes (things that are important and satisfactory) to use for marketing purposes.
  4. Identify desired services we don't current provide.


Suggested categories of services.  The words used to describe them probably need to be refined.  Should try to use words that will be familiar to faculty, and avoid library jargon.

  • In-person assistance finding books, articles, databases for faculty person's research. [Reference]
  • Online (chat, e-mail, website(?)) assistance finding books, articles, databases for faculty person's research. [Online reference]*
  • In-person assistance finding books, articles, databases for student's research. [Reference]
  • Online (chat, e-mail, website(?)) assistance finding books, articles, databases for student's research. [Online reference]*
  • Delivering books not in BU's collections [ILL]
  • Delivering articles not in BU's collections [ILL]
  • Instruction, training, and teaching
  • Circulation [What exactly do we want to ask here?]
  • Putting material on reserve for classes.
  • Subject matter expert/selector.  [It would be nice to know if they have or would like a specific librarian to work with.]

* It may not be reasonable to ask faculty about reference services for students, as many of them may not know.


For most of the services, it would be nice to know three things (exact wording still to be determined):

  • How often they use the service
  • How important is the service
  • How satisfied they are with service

It will also be important to provide a comments field, since that is probably the only way to capture information about specific problems.

Library Resources (Sarah & Megan)

I. Types of Library Resources: 
    Old print journals   UW lists this as pre-1985 but we would want to figure out where we would want to draw the line- I would actually think it should be in the 1990s at the most. -Megan Bresnahan 11/12/09 5:14 PM 
    Recent print journals
Visual Media
Audio Media
Library Research/Subject Guides
Library Tutorials   would this be under library services? -Megan Bresnahan 11/12/09 5:14 PM 
Software   an example would be the virtual microscope or endnote that students use in the library- this might belong in facilities? -Megan Bresnahan 11/12/09 5:14 PM 
Citation Managers   Maybe we want to refer directly to RefWorks here, but we also have Endnote installed on all library computers -Megan Bresnahan 11/12/09 5:15 PM 
Other-- dissertations, reports, scores, etc.

II. What we want to learn from the survey questions:
  1. What sources of information do faculty use to conduct research?
  2. How often do they use these resources?
  3. How do faculty rate the availability and usefulness of library resources for conducting their research?
  4. What sources of information do faculty use to prepare for their classes?
  5. How often?
  6. How do faculty rate the availability and usefulness of library resources for preparing for classes?
  7. What types of resources do faculty refer their students to (via blackboard, class handouts, Class slides, bibliographies)?
  8. How often?
  9. How do faculty rate the availability and usefulness of library resources for their students?
  10. Do faculty prefer print or electronic books? journals?
  11. How do faculty rate remote access to library resources?    I was thinking that even though this is related to IT or SFX, this information may clue us in to whether faculty know how to access electronic library resources from off-campus or if they are just trying to go through google -Megan Bresnahan 11/12/09 5:18 PM 

Library Facilities (Dan P.)

How satisfied are you with the library's hours?  Very Satisfied (5) -----------------Not Satisfied (1)   (I think we already know what they want, namely longer hours, this would ask how much of a big deal it is not when exactly they want the hours to be)

How frequently do you visit the library in person? :  Almost daily, weekly, monthly, once per semester, less often/NA

How would you rate the helpfulness of the staff?  Excellent (5)  ----------------- Unacceptable (1)

How knowledgeable do you perceive the staff to be?  Very knowledgeable (5) --------------- Ignorant/Boston College Grads (1)
Please elaborate:

How would you rate the quality of the facilities?  Excellent/Pardee Library -esque (5) ---------------- Poor/Mugar Library during a rainstorm (1)
Please Elaborate:

Other (Dan B.)

considerations for the OTHER category.....

o        Preferences for print or digital resources
- I'm not sure this is essential, but I would say this is a good consideration to use throughout the category of "library resources", without just asking a single simple question about it. UW's survey does have a question that deals with material type, but for instance, it lists simply "journals" without specifying whether electronic or not.  What are we really going to learn from this exact breakdown?  The exact percentage of those that still prefer print sources?  What will this do for us, now and also when we repeat this survey in the future?  I suggest we pretty much anecdotally know the general answers to this already. 
- If we were to ask this as a single question, it might be neat to track faculty attitudes towards eBooks over time.  My guess is that we would find what I find anecdotally; that everybody says they want more, but once it comes to using one they hit the print! print! print! button....  I like how UW phrases their question, as "how important are the following to your everyday work".  Then we could gauge who's really using what.  In general, I find the UW survey very well put together, although even there, I have a hard time imagining how useful the results would be with repetition.

o        Open access
- I would say not essential.  But it would be interesting to try to include some "education" about OA in the survey.  Or, we could phrase the questions in such a way as to help justify our work in OA in the future.  For instance, asking them to rate how important free access to academic resources is....Should be a given everybody likes that.  :) 

o        General comments
- I would say essential to include this: We do not want to limit faculty member's comments to any particular category.  If they have a comment on anything related to the libraries, they should be able to post it in the survey.  That said, this is going to be a qualitative analysis when we get results.

more OTHER possibilities?
o        how about RefWorks, ezproxy and sfx?  Is there some way to fit in these sort of digital, non-traditional services?  maybe we could assess the knowledge of these resources over time.  For example, the question could read click all the boxes for services you have used:  kerberos login to bu library resources (ezproxy), find at BU button (sfx), refworks....  then we might be able to say this percentage of faculty use this service.  as we get out the word about these services, maybe the percentage would increase in future repetitions.

Demographics (Linda)

Primary School or College within BU
We want to be able to categorize our respondents by school or college. If we get enough respondents we'll be able to correlate certain responses by this breakdown. At a minimum we'll be able to show our respondents by school & colleges in a pie chart. We could use the list of schools and colleges from the BUwebsite.

Primary Campus Affiliation
We want be able to break down our users by the MED or the CRC which should be useful. We can show this in a pie chart and should be able to break some responses down by campus. by campus.

Primary BU Library 
If we get enough responses, we should be able to break down responses by library affiliation. At a minimum, we'll know what percent of respondents use each Library.

Full or Part Time
We should be able to analyze the results by this category. My guess is that part-time faculty might be less satisfied with library services than full time faculty. If we can demonstrate this we could target them afterwards.

Number of Years Employed at BU
I'm not sure this is essential. We might want to see if there is a difference between those who have been her a year or so and those who have been here decades. If we do include a question about this, we might want to group years:
0-3 years
4-6 years
7-10 years
11-20 years
21+ years

Library Websites (Tim L)

--Do You rely on the library Website to access online resources?

--Which library websites do you ususally use?

--Are you easily able to access online library resources from off-campus?

--How else do you access online resources?

--Do you incorporate the library Website or library online resources into your syllabi?

--Do you  find the library Website easy to navigate

--What improvements would you recommend?

Notes for Assessment Committee meeting, 10/25/09

 Faculty Survey -goal, process, categories


To ask BU faculty for feedback about library resources and services.


BU faculty (as determined by email lists)


Library survey


Virtual, web-based


Spring, 2010?


To listen to users and improve services & resources


Survey Monkey, IRB, IT, Provost’s Office


1.  What do we want to know overall?

·         Decide categories to cover

·         Draft questions within each category

2.  Who should have input?

·         Library heads

·         Branch and department heads?

·         All staff?

·         Faculty?

3.  Draft questions

·         From scratch and referring to available surveys (UW Libraries, BU Law?, others?)

·         For each question:

o        Is it essential

o        Will it provide meaningful, usable data

o        Is it clear, unambiguous

4.  Ask staff to review draft (same groups?)

5.  Run pilot using Survey Monkey

6.  Work with Institutional Review Board, Provost’s Office, IT re: email lists



·         Demographics

o        Primary School, College, Institute, or Research Center affiliation

o        Primary campus affiliation

o        Primary BU Library affiliation

o        Full or part time

o        Status- full, associate, assistant, clinical, other (Do we need this?)

o        Number of years at BU (do we need this?)


·         Library Resources (digital and print, subscription and open access)

o        Journals

o        Databases

o        Books (reference/ & circulating?)

o        Library Catalog

o        Institutional Repository?

o        Other-- dissertations, reports, scores, etc.

o        Comments about Collections on a whole


·         Library Services (virtual, in person, telephone)

o        Reference

o        ILL

o        Instruction

o        Circulation

o        Reserve

o        Comments about Services on the whole


·          Library Websites

o        Accessibility on and off campus

o        Frequency of use

o        What is accessed

o        Comments about Websites


·         Library Facilities

o        Hours

o        How often visited

o        Helpful staff

o        Knowledgeable staff

o        Comments about Facilities


·         Other

o        Preferences for print or digital resources

o        Open access

o        General comments




General Thoughts on Survey (from David Fristrom)

Overall, I am fairly impressed with the University of Washington survey (  Some things I think it does well:

  1. Organizes a bunch of questions so that they don't seem overwhelming (there are "only" 15 questions, but in fact each question has a lot of sub-questions).
  2. Asks about the faculty's information seeking behavior.  This kind of data could be very useful in designing services and collections.
  3. Asks about desired and actual information literacy of students.  Again, this information could be quite useful in designing services and for making the case for additional resources.