LibQUAL+(TM): Charting Library Service Quality at the UofL - Frequently Asked Questions

Completing the Survey:

  1. How long will it take to complete the survey?
  2. Can I skip questions that don't apply to me?
  3. Is there an incentive offered for participating?
  4. What Web browsers are supported for the survey?
  5. Can I complete a paper copy of the survey instead?
  6. Is this Web survey compatible with text-to-speech browsers?
  7. Why is the address of the survey not a ULeth address?
  8. If I deleted the email invitation, can I still take the survey?
  9. What do I do if I cannot open the URL from my email?
  10. Who will receive the survey?
  11. Can I participate even if I wasn't asked to?
  12. Why does the survey seem to repeat the same question?
  13. Why are reminders being sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?
  14. What discipline category should I choose for my area or major?

LibQUAL+(TM) Survey Overview:

  1. What is the LibQUAL+(TM) survey?
  2. What does the survey measure?
  3. How has the survey been promoted?
  4. How will this survey benefit the University of Lethbridge?
  5. How and when is the survey being conducted?
  6. Are the responses confidential?
  7. Has this survey been approved by the University's Human Subject Research Committee?
  8. What survey instrument is being used?
  9. What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL+(TM)?
  10. Do all libraries use the same questions?
  11. How can I get more information about LibQUAL+(TM)?

Results:

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

Completing the Survey:

  1. How long will it take to complete the survey?
    Based our experience running this survey in the past, we expect that the survey will take between 15 and 20 minutes to complete.

  2. Can I skip questions that don't apply to me?
    Do not skip any questions in the LibQUAL+(TM) 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 completed (even with NA) are not counted in the aggregated results.

  3. Is there an incentive offered for participating?
    There is no compensation per se for completing the survey, though an incentive prize will be awarded as thanks to participants. At the end of the web-based survey, respondents may opt to include an email address, which will enter them in a drawing for one of five $100 UofL Bookstore gift certificates. Award winners will be contacted by email and announced in mid-April.

  4. What Web browsers are supported for the survey?
    The survey does not rely on erratically supported browser features such as Java or cookies. Any browser should work as long as it is not too old.

  5. Can I complete a paper copy of the survey instead?
    Paper copies of the survey can be made available only to respondents who are identified by Student Counselling as having a special need for accommodation. Please contact for more information and assistance.

  6. Is this Web survey compatible with text-to-speech browsers?
    Yes, the survey is compatible with the JAWS screen reader software.

  7. Why is the address of the survey not a ULeth address?
    The survey is administered through the Association of Research Libraries and Texas A&M University. The survey and data are housed on secure servers at Texas A&M University.

  8. If I deleted the email invitation, can I still take the survey?
    Yes, you can get another copy of the web link by contacting .

  9. What do I do if I cannot open the URL from my email?
    If you are having difficulty 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, please contact .

  10. Who will receive the survey?
    The survey is being sent to all faculty members and graduate students as well as a random sample of undergraduate students taking classes at the University of Lethbridge as of 2011 February 18.

  11. Can I participate even if I wasn't asked to?
    While you cannot participate in the actual survey, your comments and feedback are always welcome and very much appreciated. Please feel free to submit your thoughts, comments, feedback, questions to the Library at any time using our online comments service.

  12. Why does the survey seem to repeat the same question?
    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.

  13. Why are reminders being sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?
    Due to security and confidentiality issues, everyone surveyed will receive reminders, even those who have already responded. When submitted, survey responses and identifying information (i.e., email and network addresses) are immediately separated, so we have no way of knowing who has already responded -- just that some people have. 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.)

  14. What discipline category should I choose for my area or major?
    Please pick the broad disciplinary that best represents what you consider to be your area of study or research. If you are in doubt as to what discipline you should select from the drop-down list on the survey, select "Other". Faculty or students not engaged in discipline-based research or study should also choose "Other".

Back to Top

LibQUAL+(TM) Survey Overview:

  1. What is the LibQUAL+(TM) survey?
    Service quality has always been the focus of libraries; LibQUAL+(TM) is intended to provide a measure of the value of library service quality across multiple academic and research libraries. The current LibQUAL+(TM) instrument measures library users' perceptions of their libraries' service quality and identifies gaps between minimal, desired, and perceived levels of service.

    LibQUAL+(TM) 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 survey. More than 1200 institutions have participated in LibQUAL+(TM), including colleges and universities, community colleges, health sciences libraries, law libraries, and public libraries-- some through various consortia, others as independent participants. LibQUAL+(TM) has also expanded internationally, with participating institutions in the USA, Canada, the UK and Europe. The growing community of participants and its extensive dataset are rich resources for improving library services.

  2. What does the survey measure?
    The survey 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:
    • the minimum level of service they will accept
    • desired level of service they expect
    • perceived level of service currently offered.

    This design will permit analysis of gaps between expectations, perception and the minimum acceptable level of service.

  3. How has the survey been promoted?
    The Library has been active in promoting our LibQUAL+(TM) survey on library service quality. Besides publishing an article in the Legend, we made presentations to various University groups, displayed posters throughout the Library advertising this event, published screensavers on all the Library's public workstations, published screensavers across the University's email stations, and submitted TLFs to The Melorist. If you have other ideas for promoting this survey, please contact .

  4. How will this survey benefit the University of Lethbridge?
    As a participant in LibQUAL+(TM) 2011, the University of Lethbridge Library will implement the measurement tool, analyse results, indentify both service strengths and areas needing improvement, and utilize this information in future planning for library services to ensure that our services are closely aligned with user expectations. LibQUAL+(TM) results will enable comparison of service quality with peer institutions, development of performance indicators, and understanding of best practices across institutions. In addition to the broad aggregated results for the University as a whole, the Library will be receiving analysis by disciplinary area for the information and use of the different subject liaison librarians, the objective being to understand more clearly the differing needs of the University by discipline.

  5. How and when is the survey being conducted?
    Using the Student Information System and the Human Resources Information System, we have selected a random sample of undergraduate email addresses as well as gathered all the email addresses for faculty, graduate students, and library staff. On Monday, February 28, 2011 these individuals will receive an invitation from Mike Mahon, University President, explaining why this is a university initiative and inviting them to complete the survey. Reminders will be sent periodically throughout the survey period to encourage maximum participation.

    The data for participating libraries will be collected on secure servers located at the Texas A&M University Library. Each response will be stored separately as it reaches the server. Survey results will ultimately be reported back to the participating institutions as aggregated mean score data.


  6. Are the responses confidential?
    Yes. The LibQUAL+(TM) approach to confidentiality is guided by the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association (see: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code2002.html). 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 submitted are saved separately from the survey responses; there is no way to link an individual's response to their email address--assuring confidentiality when entering the incentive draw. After the draw, the email and network addresses are discarded.

    The survey 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. Has this survey been approved by the University's Research Services Human Subject Research Committee?
    Our participation in LibQUAL+(TM) was reviewed with Research Services and evaluated according to The Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans. Questions regarding your rights as a participant in this research may be addressed to the Office of Research Services, University of Lethbridge (phone: 403-329-2747 or emai:


  8. What survey instrument is being used?
    The LibQUAL+(TM) survey evolved from a conceptual model based on the ServQUAL instrument, a popular tool for assessing service quality in the private sector and one 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 the modified ServQUAL instrument 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+(TM). 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).

  9. What other libraries are participating in LibQUAL+(TM)?

    A full list of other libraries participating in the 2001 LibQUAL+(TM) survey is available at http://http://www.libqual.org/about/about_survey/participants

  10. Do all libraries use the same questions?
    All libraries participating in the 2011 LibQUAL+(TM) survey on library service quality will use the same 22 core questions and demographic questions. In addition, each library may select 5 questions from a list of optional questions. The University of Lethbridge has selected optional questions covering document delivery (1), promotion (1) and information literacy (3).

  11. How can I get more information about LibQUAL+(TM)?
    For more detailed information, check out the Association of Research Libraries' LibQUAL+(TM) Project Website or contact

Back to Top

Results:

  1. What will be done with the survey results?
    Survey data are transmitted directly from the LibQUAL+(TM) server to a database. The data are then analysed 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 of Lethbridge to align services with user expectations.

  2. What results are shared with other institutions?
    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 website. User comments (from the comments section) will be made available to the users' institution.

  3. What do the survey results look like?
    Survey results include aggregate summaries, demographics by library, item summaries, dimension summaries, and dimensions measured for survey implementation.

  4. Where and when will the results be posted?
    Results will be compiled into a report that will be posted at this website and announced in campus publications. We expect to be making these results known by Fall 2011. As well, the Library will be receiving an analysis by each disciplinary area noted in the survey (e.g., one for Management specifically, one for Arts and Science - Sciences specifically, etc.) These disciplinary reports will be provided to the respective subject liasion librarians for their information and use in their liaison activities.

Page created and maintained by: