More faculty survey results, plus the survey instrument

Tools

Tools of the Trade, flickr user John of Austin

In our recent Faculty survey we asked what kinds of scholarly materials, what kinds of experts, and what kinds of tools were important to faculty in doing their research.

In terms of tools; “search tools, databases, and websites” are important (rated Important or Very Important) to over 90% of all faculty — which is not particularly surprising.

The next most important kind of tool were “bibliographic management tools” — which are important to 71% of Science & Engineering faculty, 52% of Social Science faculty, and 47% of Humanities and arts faculty. “Specialized or customizable software” is important to 62% of Social Science faculty and 50% of Science & Engineering faculty — but only to 25% of Humanities and Arts faculty. Specialized computing infrastructure is important to 46% of Science & Engineering folks, but only 30% of Social Scientists and only 15% of Humanists.

So, to summarize, books (print and electronic) and e-journals are important to everyone, experts with scholarly & technical chops are really important to humanists, data and methods experts are important to social scientists, and specialized tools and infrastructure are important to science & engineering folks. Stay tuned for additional multivariate analyses, and analysis of the 147 pages (w00t!) of qualitative data.

In the interest of sharing and transparency, I am also making a short version of our survey instrument available here (PDF), under a CC-BY license. If any of you decide to use any of the same questions, please let me know — it might be very informative to pool data and see what kinds of differences we might find across institutions — after all, I’m on record as claiming that libraries aren’t all the same, and that big research libraries are different from other academic libraries. It would be fun to test those hypotheses with comparable data from other institutions.

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