Listening to Our Students: Enhancing Library Instruction Through a Qualitative Assessment of Student Feedback Academic Article uri icon


  • Texas A&M University Libraries uses LibQUAL+ to conduct annual reviews of service quality as measured by those who matter most; our patrons. This yearly practice reflects our belief that, only customers judge quality [and that] all other judgments are essentially irrelevant. (Zeithaml, Parasuraman, and Berry, 2006). In an attempt to apply this philosophy to library instruction the authors examined approximately 25,000 post-instruction questionnaires collected from undergraduate and graduate students between 2005 and 2010. Free-text comments from the questionnaires were transferred to ATLAS.ti and the data was coded to identify common themes, patterns and issues across a range of demographics. This study had two aims. Our first objective was to capitalize on the rich source of qualitative data that student feedback provides as a basis for the development of instructional training programs. This is in contrast to the typical situation in which librarians, reflecting in isolation, seek to improve only their own instruction sessions. Using student feedback at a programmatic level, however, introduces a new dynamic; peer-to-peer learning. This simple initiative, we argue, takes the use of qualitative data to a new level and, in doing so, represents a significant advance in the training and development of instruction librarians. Our second objective was to expand and enrich the discourse on the scholarship of teaching within bibliographic instruction. We feel there should be a greater consideration within the literature of other voices, especially those of our students.

published proceedings

  • Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries

author list (cited authors)

  • Goodwin, S. P., & Budzise-Weaver, T. M.

complete list of authors

  • Goodwin, SP||Budzise-Weaver, TM

publication date

  • January 2012