LibQUAL+ Logo

LibQUAL+®

The JMU Libraries are participating in a nationwide survey called LibQUAL+®, which focuses on library service quality.  Members of the JMU community will be contacted by email and asked to respond to the online survey about library services at JMU.  Below are frequently asked questions about the LibQUAL+® survey.  For more information, contact David Vess at 540-568-2212 or email at libqual@jmu.edu.  You may also consult the Association of Research Libraries LibQUAL+® Information page.

1.  What is the LibQUAL+® survey?

2.  What does the survey measure?

3.  How will the survey benefit library users at JMU?

4.  Why is the survey important?

5.  Who will be surveyed, and when?

6.  What survey instrument is being used?

7.  How long does it take to complete the survey?

8.  Is there a paper version of the survey?

9. Why is the survey so redundant?

10. Why are reminders sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?

11. Why don't the discipline categories in the survey match JMU's college/department structure?


1.    What is the LibQUAL+® survey?

LibQUAL+® is a standardized survey that was developed as a project of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) in collaboration with the Texas A&M University Libraries.  The project’s goal is to define and measure library service quality across institutions and to create useful quality-assessment tools for libraries. Academic and research libraries of all sizes in North America are participating in the spring 2013 LibQUAL+® survey project.

2.    What does the survey measure?

Service quality has always been important to libraries.  LibQUAL+® is intended to provide a measure of the value of library service quality across multiple academic and research libraries.  The survey measures library users' perceptions of their libraries' service quality and identifies gaps between minimal, desired and perceived levels of service.

3.    How will the survey benefit library users at JMU?

This project will allow libraries to compare their service quality with other peer institutions, to develop benchmarks, and to reveal best practices across institutions. By participating in LibQUAL+® and initiating action based on the results of this survey, the JMU Libraries can be more responsive to users' needs and provide services that are better aligned to reflect users' expectations.

4.    Why is the survey important?

There is increasing pressure for libraries to move towards more outcome-based assessment efforts, instead of relying solely on input or resource measurements. This pressure comes from funding authorities as well as users themselves. Outcome measures show how well an organization serves its users, and assist in finding new measures of library efficiency and effectiveness.

5.    Who will be surveyed, and when?

All undergraduate and graduate students and all faculty members will be surveyed. They will receive an email message and one reminder notice from Ralph Alberico, Dean of Libraries and Educational Technologies, containing an embedded URL for the LibQUAL+® survey. The survey will be available at that site from April 9, 2013 through April 24, 2013. The data for all participating institutions will be collected on secure servers located in the Texas A&M Library. Each response will be disaggregated as it reaches the server, and survey results will ultimately be reported back to the participating institutions as aggregate mean score data. Individual responses of participants will be wholly confidential.  

Although there will be no compensation for completing the survey,  an incentive will be offered to increase response rates. At the end of the web-based survey,  respondents may elect to include their email address, which will enter them in a drawing for an iPad.

6.    What survey instrument is being used?

The LibQUAL+® survey is patterned after the SERVQUAL instrument developed by Leonard L. Berry (Distinguished Professor, Texas A&M University), A. Parasuraman, and Valarie A. Zeithaml, which is used extensively in private industry. 

7.    How long does it take to complete the survey?

The average time it takes to complete the survey is five minutes.  Respondents are asked to respond to each question on three separate scales, representing minimum, desired, and perceived levels of service. 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.

8.    Is there a paper version of the survey?

Respondents not able to complete an online questionnaire may obtain a paper copy of the survey by contacting David Vess at 540-568-2212 or at libqual@jmu.edu.

9.  Why is the survey so redundant?

The survey tests a variety of dimensions of library service, each represented by multiple (and seemingly redundant) questions. The use of multiple/redundant questions allows us to analyze the validity of each dimension through statistical means.

10.  Why is a reminder sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?

In general, reminders are 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.)

The fact that reminders are sent to all respondents, including those who have already completed the survey, is a result of the project’s built-in mechanisms for security and confidentiality. Once a return is submitted to the project server, its contents are disaggregated and disassociated from the respondent’s email address. This provides maximum security, but doesn't allow for any differentiation between respondents and non-respondents. Thus, everyone gets a reminder.

11.  Why don't the discipline categories in the survey match JMU's college/department structure?

Because this is a multi-institution survey, discipline categories have been standardized for ease of comparison on a national level. This will assist with future benchmarking activities. To determine what standardized discipline you should use to identify yourself consult the following list:

JMU Major
Corresponding Discipline on Survey
Adult Degree
General Studies
Accounting
Business
Anthropology
Social Sciences/Psychology
Art
Performing & Fine Arts
Art History
Performing & Fine Arts
Athletic Training
Health Sciences
Biology
Science/Math
Biotechnology
Science/Math
Business Administration
Business
Chemistry
Science/Math
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Health Sciences
Communication Studies
Communications/Journalism
Computer Information Systems
Business
Computer Science
Engineering/Computer Science
Dietetics
Health Sciences
Earth Science
Science/Math
Economics
Business
Education Programs
Education
English
Humanities
Engineering
Engineering/Computer Science
Environmental Programs

Science/Math

Finance
Business
Geographic Science
Science/Math
Geology
Science/Math
Health Sciences
Health Sciences
Health Services Administration
Health Sciences
History
Humanities
Hospitality Tourism Management
Business
Intelligence Analysis
Engineering/Computer Science
Integrated Science and Technology
Engineering/Computer Science
Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
Education
International Affairs
Social Sciences/ Psychology
International Business
Business
Justice Studies
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Kinesiology
Health Sciences
Management
Business
Marketing
Business
Mathematics
Science/Math
Media Arts and Design Communications/Journalism
Modern Foreign Languages
Humanities
Music
Performing & Fine Arts
Nursing
Health Sciences
Philosophy and Religion
Humanities
Physics
Science/Math
Political Science
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Pre-professional Health Programs 3
Health Sciences
Psychology
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Public Policy and Administration
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Quantitative Finance
Business
Social Work
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Sociology
Social Sciences/ Psychology
Sport and Recreation Management
Business
Statistics
Science/Math
Theatre and Dance
Performing & Fine Arts
Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication
Communications/Journalism
Undeclared
Undecided