PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to provide evidence of the value of Research Parties, a new model of supplementary reference in a social environment.Design/methodology/approachA survey of multiple choice and open-ended questions was administered to Research Party participants (n = 43) over the course of three semesters to discover the profiles of the undergraduate students who attended and how they heard about the event and to assess the value of the interaction to the student.FindingsRespondents unanimously agreed that their interactions with librarians at Research Parties were helpful because their information seeking needs, including finding sources, learning how to search databases, gaining clarity into the assignment, writing and citing, were met. Respondents also mentioned attributes of the librarian’s disposition or attitude such as enthusiastic conversation, encouragement and patience. Several students reflected on their own learning process and noted that they would seek help from a librarian again.Practical implicationsThe results demonstrate that Research Parties are helpful to undergraduate students and a worthwhile model for academic libraries looking to complement their traditional reference services.Originality/valueWhile faculty and administrators have verbally expressed excitement about Research Parties, librarian colleagues have anecdotally reported success instituting this model at their institutions, and students have provided informal positive feedback, this is the first time the model has been evaluated more formally to capture its value.
Reference Services Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 11, 2019