Chat Response Competency: Library Professionals vs. Undergraduate Student Employees
Michael J. Whitchurch, MLIS, Erin Merrill

This article reports on the qualitative analysis of 4,475 chat transcripts from the 2016 calendar year for the specific purpose of comparing accuracy and completeness between student employees and non-student employees. Using research done at other institutions as a guide, researchers developed a coding rubric, then coded and analyzed the transcripts. The researchers reviewed each transcript three times; once by a student employee, once by a paraprofessional and once by a faculty librarian. Researchers discovered that while non-student employees are slightly better at providing accurate and complete chat answers, the student employees are better at understanding and using the technology like their peers, who are the majority of the patrons who use chat. More importantly, this research confirms and builds on former research to show that having student employees as the primary contact for answering chat questions is not only as effective as non-student employees answering chat, but the potential cost savings, relative to time and salary, are significant.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlis.v7n2a2