LibQUAL+ at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Frequently Asked Questions
About the LibQUAL+™ Survey
- What is the LibQUAL+™ survey?
- What does the survey measure?
- How will this survey benefit the UMass Amherst community?
- How and when is the UMass Amherst Libraries survey being conducted?
- Who will be invited to participate in the survey?
- Why wasn't I invited to take the survey? Can I take it anyway?
- I took this survey a couple of years ago; why am I being asked to take it again?
- Are responses confidential?
- What survey instrument is being used?
- Do all libraries use the same questions?
- What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL+™?
- How can I get more information about LibQUAL+™?
Completing the Survey
- How long will the survey take?
- Can I skip questions that don't apply to me?
- Will there be any special incentives for participating?
- I took the survey; when will I receive my free beverage coupon?
- What Web browsers are supported for the survey?
- Is the survey compatible with text-to-speech web browsers?
- Why isn't the survey on a umass.edu web address?
- If I deleted the email can I still take the survey?
- What if I cannot open the URL from my email?
- Why does the survey seem to repeat the same question(s)?
- Why are reminders sent to respondents who have completed the survey?
- What will be done with the survey results?
- What information is shared with other institutions?
- What do the survey results look like?
- Where and when will results be posted?
About the LibQUAL+™ Survey
LibQUAL+™ is a web survey used to define and measure library service quality across institutions of higher education. It is offered to the library community by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and is based on an instrument called SERVQUAL that was developed by a marketing research team at Texas A & M University for the not-for-profit sector. Over 1000 libraries throughout the world participate in LibQUAL+™.
LibQUAL+™ uses "gap analysis" to identify the differences between users' minimal acceptable service, perceived service level and desired service level. It identifies the users' "Zones of tolerance" and gives us data about where our services fall in relation to these zones.
The “Lite” version of LibQUAL+™ is a recent development, containing fewer questions than the full version which was last conducted at UMass Amherst during spring semester of 2007.
ARL collects the data on their secure servers.
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, 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.
The survey is important because it will allow us to benchmark our resuilts against AAU institutions as well as other libraries, and identify best practices. it will help us better understand how the UMass Amherst community rates library services, collections and facilities. The results will tell us where to concentrate improvements for our users.
As this is the third time that the UMass Amherst Libraries are participating in LibQUAL+™, we are also interested in comparing the 2011 survey results to those from 2007 and 2004.
On March 30, all invited participants will receive an email with a link to the survey. Reminder notices will be sent as needed. The UMass Amherst Libraries will receive initial results in the summer and will share final results with the campus community in the fall of 2011.
The data for all participating institutions will be collected on secure servers. 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.
For the UMass Amherst Spring 2011 survey, 100% of faculty and graduate students, a random sample of 2800 undergraduate students, and all library staff will receive invitations to participate in the survey.
Only people who receive official invitations to take the LibQual+™ survey are eligible to complete the survey. However, the libraries always welcome feedback from all users. Comment forms are available at the Information Desk on the entrance level of the W.E.B Du Bois Library, or online:
General library comments: http://www.library.umass.edu/cgi-bin/aka/feedback.cgi
Learning Commons comments: http://www.umass.edu/learningcommons/feedback.html
Library staff also welcome hearing from users regarding their experiences using the libraries.
The Libraries are interested in measuring users' satisfaction with collections and services over time. Completing the survey again can help us gauge whether improvements we have made following the 2004 and 2007 LibQual+™ surveys are addressing our users' needs, and indicate areas in need of further improvement.
Yes. The LibQUAL+™ approach to privacy and confidentiality is guided by Standard 4 of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct of the American Psychological Association (see http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx).
No identifiable information is delivered to Umass. Some information is captured from respondents by the system, such as network address, but the respondents' privacy is protected. Network addresses are very indirect information and would be difficult to trace back to an individual. ARL does not attempt to do this and this data is not released to UMass. Email addresses are not collected.
A shorter version of the LibQUAL+™ survey called LibQUAL+® Lite is being used for the first time in 2011. LibQUAL+® Lite uses item sampling to gather data on the same core questions used for the longer LibQUAL+™survey.
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.
All libraries participating in the 2007 LibQUAL+™ survey will use the same core questions and demographic questions.
For a complete list of the 2010 participating institutions, see: http://libqual.org/about/about_survey/participants
For more information, see the LibQUAL+™ homepage at http://www.libqual.org. To e-mail the national headquarters for LibQUAL+™, contact the Association for Research Libraries at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the UMass Amherst LibQUAL+™ survey is available at http://www.library.umass.edu/assessment/libqual.html.
Completing the Survey
The survey typically takes about 5 minutes to complete.
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.
Everyone invited to take the survey is offered a free beverage from the Procrastination Station Cafe in the W.E.B. Du Bois Libray.
Any browser should work so long as it is not too old. The survey does not rely on erratically supported browser features such as Java or cookies.
Yes, the survey is compatible with the JAWS screen reader software.
The survey is administered through the Association of Research Libraries and Texas A & M University, and the survey and data are housed on secure Texas A & M servers.
Yes. You can get another copy of the web link. Email email@example.com or contact Rachel Lewellen (413) 545-3343.
If you have trouble opening the URL from within your email message, you can copy the URL and paste it into your Web browser. If you still cannot access the survey, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachel Lewellen (413) 545-3343.
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.
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. (See: Cook, Heath, and Thompson, "A meta-analysis of response rates in web- or internet-based surveys", Educational and Psychological Measurement, v. 60, 2000, p.821-836.)
Survey data is transmitted directly from the LibQUAL+™ server to a database. The data is 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 UMass Amherst Libraries to align services with user expectations.
Summary statistics only are shared with other institutions. The survey 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 exclusively to the users' home institution.
Survey results will include aggregate summaries, demographics by library, item summaries, dimension summaries, and dimensions measured for survey implementation.
Results will be compiled in a report that will be posted on the library web site in Fall 2011.
Last Edited: 23 March 2011