Students' perception of the impact of user education on the use of reference resources: an Iranian experience

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Publisher: University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,510 words

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The 21st century is the age of science. Scientific knowledge is created and communicated largely through teaching and research. University libraries are an integral part of teaching and research. Teaching and research depend upon the library, and achievements in teaching and research are not possible without the library. Expenses for library resources are considerable, and users should therefore be familiar with library materials and their applications. User education is a vital part of this process. Instruction in using reference works is an important and effective aspect of user education. Studies show that about 60% of students could not make use of reference works and that about 90% considered user education vital (Prorak, 1994: 69). Librarians can train users better and more carefully than other experts. Library user education provides a collection of skills that have a close relationship to other educational goals.

Problem Statement

The volume of scholarly and scientific publications is very large, with about 1,000 new books and 9,600 periodical titles published daily in the United States alone. The amount of available information is too large for anyone to access all materials and resources. Users must be able to discriminate and select. Selection is not possible without sufficient knowledge. User education is necessary for the best use of information resources. Information literacy is a major subject in the field of library user education programs. The American Library Association (ALA) defines information literacy:

"To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information" (Webber and Johnston, 2003).

Research on user needs and abilities can strengthen information literacy efforts. This study is a survey of students' familiarity with reference resources and their applications.


The study has three hypotheses:

* Most students do not know different approaches to information-seeking through reference resources.

* There is a significant difference between trained students (those who have passed courses "Familiarity with library and librarianship" and "Bibliology" by library and information professors) and untrained students (those who have not had any education in library and information science)

* Teaching a course entitled "Familiarity with library and its materials" is the most effective form of user education.

Research Questions

In this survey, we try to answer the following questions:

* What is the level of students' familiarity and proficiency in using reference works?

* Do students feel that user education is a necessity?

* What are the best methods of user education from the student point-of-view?

* Who can provide the best user education?


This study is a descriptive survey. The population is all students at Qom Islamic Azad University (QIAU), which has about 6,800 students (Diploma, Bachelor, and Master of Science, and Ph.D). About 350 students were selected using the Krejcie and Morgan formula. Information was gathered using a questionnaire of 22 questions (20 short-answer and 2 open -ended). Data analysis includes descriptive statistics, mean, standard deviation, charts, and student T-test.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A193183358