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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur March 10, 2018

Information Behavior of Electrical Engineering and Computing Doctoral Students and Their Perception of the Academic Library’s Role: A Case Study in Croatia

Kornelija Petr Balog ORCID logo, Boris Badurina ORCID logo and Jadranka Lisek
From the journal Libri

Abstract

Th aim of the paper is to present findings of a study on information sources and information behavior of doctoral students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb, Croatia. The study also looked into student perceptions of the role of the academic library and their attitudes toward it as a legitimate partner in the research process, as doctoral students are required to publish the results of their doctoral research in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals during their course of study. However, they rarely use the library and its services; the study was undertaken with the intent to obtain insight into the students’ information behavior as well as needs and reasons for overlooking the library as a relevant partner in their research process. The online survey was conducted on a sample of 138 postgraduate students, with semi-structured interviews with five postgraduate students also conducted. The findings show a dominant student orientation towards online sources such as online databases and Google Scholar. Students tend to overlook the library as a relevant information source but have positive attitudes toward librarians (their knowledge, skills and courtesy). The library needs to become more active in promoting its services and, especially in the domain of postgraduate education, needs to be regarded as a necessary location for any serious research work, where librarians are regarded as cooperating partners in the research process. There were a few limitations of the study: respondents were unwilling to dedicate their time to this research and therefore the interviews were too short to examine the topics discussed in-depth, while the sample was extremely homogeneous, making the results only in part transferable to other contexts.

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Appendix

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb

Dear doctoral students,

The Central Library of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb (further in text: FEEC) wishes to improve the quality of its services for doctoral students and are therefore looking for you to fill out this anonymous questionnaire, which will take just 10 minutes of your time. Your answers will be used solely for improvement of our services so that we may meet your information needs as best as possible.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Demographic data

  1. 1.

    What is your gender?

  1. Female

  2. Male

  1. 2.

    Please detail the year you were born: ________

  2. 3.

    What is your place of residence? _____________

  3. 4.

    What institution of higher education did you graduate from?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (Zagreb)

  2. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (Split)

  3. The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology (Osijek)

  4. The Faculty of Engineering (Rijeka)

  5. The Faculty of Science (Zagreb)

  6. Other, please specify

  1. 5.

    Which stage of the PhD are you at?

    Please choose only one answer.

    1. Just enrolled in first year (first and second semester)

    2. About to apply for the qualifying exam (QA)

    3. Passed the QA

    4. Enrolled in 2nd year (third and fourth semester)

    5. About to apply for thesis proposal defense

    6. Defended thesis proposal

    7. Enrolled in the third year (fifth and sixth semester) – working on the thesis

    8. Initiated the process of PhD thesis evaluation and defense

    9. Preparing for the PhD thesis defense

    10. Other, please specify

  1. 6.

    Are you employed?

    Please choose only one answer.

  1. No

  2. Yes, in a commercial institution

  3. Yes, in an academic institution

  4. Other, please specify

7. When did you enroll into the FEEC doctoral program?

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

8. Why did you enroll in the FEEC doctoral program?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. I need it for my current job

  2. I want to invest in myself

  3. I hope to find a better job

  4. Other, please specify

9. When you were a graduate student, did you use your faculty library?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. Yes

  2. No

10. How much did the faculty library services contribute to your academic success (if you answered question 9 as YES)?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. 0–20 %

  2. 21–40 %

  3. 41–60 %

  4. 61–80 %

  5. 80–100 %

Information Sources and Information Behavior

11. How do you usually learn about literature for your research?

Please supply an answer for each row.

AlwaysOftenSometimesRarelyNeverDon’t know
Through references in literature I have read
Through searches in FEEC OPAC
Through searches in OPACs of other libraries
By browsing library shelves
By searching in online databases
Through reviews in scientific journals
Through searches in Google Scholar
Through Internet searches
Through social networks (e. g. Research GATE, SlideShare, LinkedIn)
By attending seminars or conferences
By attending PhD courses
Through my supervisor/PhD course instructors
By talking to my fellow PhD students
With the help of a librarian

12. Which sources do you use for your research (multiple answers if relevant)?

  1. IEEExplore

  2. Academic Search Complete

  3. ACM Digital Library

  4. arXiv

  5. Bentham Open Access

  6. Current Contents

  7. Google Scholar

  8. Hrčak [Portal of Scientific Journals of Croatia]

  9. INSPEC

  10. WoS

  11. MATDAT.COM

  12. Science Direct

  13. Scopus

  14. SpringerLink

  15. USPTO

  16. Wiley-Blackwell

  17. Croatian Scientific Bibliography (CROSBI)

  18. Other, please specify

13. From the list below rank the sources according to their importance for your research. There are 17 sources in the list below – assign number 1 to the most important source, number 2 to the second most important source etc.

  1. IEEExplore

  2. Academic Search Complete

  3. ACM Digital Library

  4. arXiv

  5. Bentham Open Access

  6. Current Contents

  7. Google Scholar

  8. Hrčak [Portal of Scientific Journals of Croatia]

  9. INSPEC

  10. WoS

  11. MATDAT.COM

  12. Science Direct

  13. Scopus

  14. SpringerLink

  15. USPTO

  16. Wiley-Blackwell

  17. Croatian Scientific Bibliography (CROSBI)

14. How important do you consider the following competencies for your current PhD research?

Please supply an answer for each variable.

Completely irrelevant

1
234Extremely important

5
Familiarity with the scientific style of writing (in order to publish in scientific journals)
Knowledge about copyright issues
Avoiding plagiarism
Locating information
Knowing how to obtain information/literature
Knowing how to use the library catalog
Understanding and following citation practices
Using reference managing software (Endnote, Mendeley etc.)

15. Where do you conduct most of your searches for scholarly information and literature for your PhD research (multiple answers if relevant)?

  1. At home

  2. At my place of work

  3. At the National and University Library (Zagreb)

  4. In the Central FEEC Library

  5. In some of the FEEC departmental libraries

  6. In a public library

  7. In my Alma Mater library (if different from the FEEC)

  8. In an academic/ research library at my place of residence

  9. On the go (from a portable device such as iPhone)

  10. Other, please specify? ________________________

16. How do you obtain information/ literature for your research?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. On my own

  2. With the help of others (please specify who?) __________________________________________

17. How would you describe your information needs?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. Same as before the PhD program

  2. Greater than before

  3. Lesser than before

18. If you chose ‘greater or ‘lesser’ in the previous question, please explain your answer.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

19. On a scale of between 1–5 (1 being unskillful, 5 extremely skillful) describe your skills in retrieving necessary information:

Please choose only one answer.

  1. 1

  2. 2

  3. 3

  4. 4

  5. 5

The Central FEEC Library

20. Please tell us about your usage of the Central FEEC Library, supplying an answer for each variable.

Several times a weekOnce a weekOnce a monthHaven’t used it so far
How often do you physically visit the library in order to browse its shelves or to get access to scientific information?
How often do you use the library’s online services (online catalog, webpage information, access to databases etc.)?
How often do you ask for help from a librarian (e. g. in finding information, interlibrary loan etc.)?

21. If you chose ‘I haven’t used it so far’ in any of the options in the previous question, please explain why.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

22. What percentage would you say that the Central FEEC Library helped in your research process?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. 0–20 %

  2. 21–40 %

  3. 41–60 %

  4. 61–80 %

  5. 81–100 %

23. What percentage would you say that the library was successful in meeting your research needs?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. 0–20 %

  2. 21–40 %

  3. 41–60 %

  4. 61–80 %

  5. 81–100 %

24. Have you used the Mendeley manual prepared by the library?

  1. Da

  2. Ne

25. On a scale of 1–5 (1 being least useful, 5 most useful) please mark the usefulness of the Mendeley program for your PhD research (only for those who answered ‘Yes’ to the previous question)?

Please choose only one answer.

  1. 1

  2. 2

  3. 3

  4. 4

  5. 5

28. Please describe what you understand the phrase "research process support" to mean. In your opinion, what and/ or who can be counted as support to the research process (e. g. supervisor, laboratory, equipment, financial means to taking part in scientific conferences etc.)?

_______________________________________________

_______________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________

29. Do you think the library is also a part of the "research process support"?

  1. Yes

  2. No

30. In what way do you think the library is also a part of the “research process support”? Explain (only those who chose ‘Yes’ in previous question).

______________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________

31. Please indicate your agreement with the following statements about FEEC librarians:

Completely disagreePartially disagreeNeither agree nor disagreePartially agreeCompletely agree
FEEC librarians are competent in retrieving information in my field of research
FEEC librarians do not possess necessary subject knowledge for retrieving information in my field of research
FEEC librarians possess knowledge and skills in the field of social sciences and humanities, rather than technical and natural sciences
I believe that FEEC librarians can obtain all the information sources I need

34. Please leave your contact information if you are willing to attend an interview to help us further in our research.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Received: 2017-2-20
Accepted: 2017-11-4
Published Online: 2018-3-10
Published in Print: 2018-3-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston