LibQUAL+® Lite

Bruce Thompson, Texas A&M University and Baylor College of Medicine
Martha Kyrillidou, Association of Research Libraries
Colleen Cook, Texas A&M University

The development of LibQUAL+® was summarized in a history titled, "The Origins/Birth of LibQUAL+®". Here, the origins of the "LibQUAL+® Lite" protocol are explained.

One of the first studies done by the researchers at Texas A&M University during the development of LibQUAL+® was a meta-analysis of all the prior published research on what affects response rates to surveys administered on the Web.1 This influential article has been cited 275 times!

Of course, one of the things these scholars found was that survey length was a critical factor in maximizing response rates. Thus, the LibQUAL+® developers set out with a goal of ultimately creating a survey that would take no longer than 10 to 13 minutes to complete, and that hopefully would take even less time.

During the first few years of developing the protocol, the survey had as many as 55 core items since the emphasis was to test items but never intended to retain all 55 items. The emphasis in these early years was on identifying (a) which items seemed to perform best, and (b) how many items should be used on each subscale in order to reflect users' priorities regarding the underlying dimensions of users' perceptions of library service quality. As a result we are currently using 22 core questions.

The survey developers also saw the potential for creating "short forms" of the protocol. Indeed, the development of two alternative abbreviated LibQUAL+® forms was documented in a 2003 article by Thompson, Cook and Heath.2

The "Lite" Form: Item Sampling

In 2008, the ARL/Texas A&M research and development team tested an alternative form of the conventional LibQUAL+® survey, called "LibQUAL+® Lite." The Lite protocol uses item sampling methods to (a) gather data on all 22 LibQUAL+® core items, while (b) only requiring given individual users to respond to a subset of the 22 core questions. The mechanics of this item sampling strategy, and some results from the spring 2008 pilot testing of the "LibQUAL+® Lite" protocol, have been described in two recent articles referenced below.3 And the recent 2009 dissertation by Martha Kyrillidou 4 adds comprehensive data analysis and literature review related to the new Lite protocol.  Three additional papers, presented at the 2nd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML 2010) International Conference in May 2010, explored the following three set of issues related to the Lite protocol: data integrity5, zone of tolerance boundaries6, and score norms7.

As explained in that report:

"LibQUAL+® Lite is a survey methodology in which (a) all users answer a few, selected survey questions (i.e., 3 core items), but (b) the remaining survey questions are answered ONLY by a randomly-selected subsample of the users. Thus, (a) data are collected on all questions, but (b) each user answers fewer questions, thus shortening the required response time. The following graphic illustrates this survey strategy. In this example, all users complete three of the items (i.e., the first, second, and fourth items). But only Mary and Sue were randomly selected to complete the third item in the item pool, which was Service Affect item #2. Only Bob and Mary were randomly selected to complete the fifth item in the item pool, which was Service Affect item #3. Only Sue and Ted were randomly selected to complete the sixth item in the item pool, which was Information Control item #2.


 Item  Bob Mary
 Bill   Sue  Ted
 Service Affect #1
 x x
x  x x
 Information Control #1
 x x x
 x x
 Service Affect #2
  x
   x  
 Library as Place #1
 x  x x
x
 x
 Service Affect #3
 x  x      
 Information Control #2
       x  x
 Library as Place #2
    x
 x  

Note. Three items are completed by all participants.


"On LibQUAL+® Lite, each participant completes only eight of the 22 core survey items. Every participant completes the same single Service Affect, single Information Control, and single Library as Place items, plus two of the remaining eight (i.e., 9 - the 1 core item completed by everyone) randomly-selected Service Affect items, two of the remaining seven (i.e., 8 - the 1 core item completed by everyone) randomly-selected Information Control, and one of the remaining four (i.e., 5 - the 1 core item completed by everyone) randomly-selected Library as Place items."

Summary

The LibQUAL+® Lite protocol is being implemented in such a manner that individual libraries will determine what percentage of their users will RANDOMLY be assigned the traditional LibQUAL+® protocol, and what percentage will RANDOMLY be assigned the LibQUAL+® Lite protocol. We believe the implementation of the new Lite protocol is the most important LibQUAL+® development during the last several years!

References

1. Cook, C., Heath, F., & Thompson, R.L. (2000). A meta-analysis of response rates in Web- or Internet-based surveys. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 821-836.
2. Thompson, B., Cook, C. & Heath, F. (2003). Two short forms of the LibQUAL+™ survey assessing users' perceptions of library service quality. Library Quarterly, 73, 453-465.
3. Thompson, B., Kyrillidou, M., & Cook, C. (2009). Item sampling in service quality assessment surveys to improve response rates and reduce respondent burden: The "LibQUAL+® Lite" example. Performance Measurement & Metrics, 10(1), 6-16.
4. Kyrillidou, M. (2009). Item Sampling in Service Quality Assessment Surveys to Improve Rates and Reduce Respondent Burden: The 'LibQUAL+® Lite' Randomized Control Trial (RCT) (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/14570/Kyrillidou_Martha.pdf?sequence=3
5. Thompson, B., Martha Kyrillidou, and Colleen Cook. (2010, May). Does using item sampling methods in library service quality assessment compromise data integrity?: A LibQUAL+® Lite study. Paper presented at the 2nd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML 2010) International Conference, Chania (Crete), Greece, May 27, 2010.
6. Kyrillidou, M., Colleen Cook. and Bruce Thompson. (2010, May). Does using item sampling methods in library service quality assessment affect zone of tolerance boundaries?: A LibQUAL+® Lite study. Paper presented at the 2nd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML 2010) International Conference, Chania (Crete), Greece, May 27, 2010.
7. Cook, C., Bruce Thompson, and Martha Kyrillidou. (2010, May). Does using item sampling methods in library service quality assessment affect score norms?: A LibQUAL+® Lite study. Paper presented at the 2nd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries (QQML 2010) International Conference, Chania (Crete), Greece, May 27, 2010.
8. Thompson, B., Martha Kyrillidou, and Colleen Cook. Equating scores on ‘Lite’ and long library user survey forms: The LibQUAL+® Lite randomized control trials. Performance Measurement & Metrics, 10 (3) (2009): 212-219.