REFERENCE INTERVIEW STRATEGIES IN VIRTUAL \(CHAT\) REFERENCE: EFFECT OF OPEN QUESTIONS
This paper examines the effectiveness of a specific reference interview technique, the use of open questions, in the context of online synchronous communication (“virtual” or “chat” reference). Virtual reference transcripts from the North Carolina State University Libraries’ “Ask a Librarian LIVE” service were examined to determine whether the librarian had asked open questions or not in the course of the interview. Transcripts were also examined to determine whether the interview had been a success or not; because of the apparently high level of user satisfaction expressed by patrons, a third category of “ambiguous success” was created. The data were then examined for evidence of a correlation between the use of open questions and the success of the interview. No correlation was found, but a generally high level of quality service and patron satisfaction were evident. The study also shows that further research on communication strategies in virtual environments is needed, and suggests some possible future research questions.
School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:college and university libraries reference services evaluation automation internet
Date of Publication:04/06/2004