Advocacy by librarians – is there a tension with assessment/analysis? | Musings about librarianship

A blog about academic librarianship. Covers discovery, open access and other hot trends by a librarian in Singapore.

Source: Advocacy by librarians – is there a tension with assessment/analysis? | Musings about librarianship

Interesting thoughts on the difference between advocacy, inherently subjective, and assessment, which should be (but isn’t always) objective.  Aaron Tay discusses this within the context of his experience at the most recent Northumbria conference on library assessment.  He mentions the “controversial” correlational studies of library use and student outcomes – the studies themselves are not controversial, but rather the way the results are considered.  While no one believes that correlation leads to causation, some library assessment advocates consider the preponderance of such evidence supports this conclusion.  Others, of course, are clearly not convinced.  I am more of the latter than the former.

What I don’t understand is why we librarians are not taking the correlational studies as evidence to undertake the next step in research.  If correlational studies are poor evidence, don’t just complain – do something else! This requires different methodologies – perhaps experimental.  What about randomly assigning at-risk students to groups that receive extra attention with or without in-depth library instruction?  My point is, let’s move on.

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