Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research (Dec 2007)

Faculty Motivations: An Exploratory Study of Motivational Factors of Faculty to Assist with Students’ Research Skills Development

  • Laurie Morrison

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 2


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Based on the premise that collaboration with faculty is a core element for the success of an IL program, this study sought to investigate the intrinsic motivations of faculty to assist their students’ development of information literacy skills. Research into the relationship between faculty and the library and librarians has left many unanswered questions about why faculty value research skills yet appear to be resistant to opportunities to collaborate with a librarian. The question arises: does attitude sufficiently predict the behaviour of faculty? Motivation (the underlying energy and direction of behaviour) may be a more likely predictor of behaviour. This article reports findings from qualitative study which sought to uncover the motivational factors of faculty to address the library research skills of students. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted in the fall semester 2004 with teaching faculty at the University of Guelph. Participants were asked to discuss their use of course-integrated library/research instruction. In its absence, faculty were asked how (if at all) did they assist students to learn to do research. Transcripts were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Findings suggest that faculty are motivated by their desire to produce independent learners with transferable skills. Scholars look for potential students for the next generation of scholars – graduate students. They see a link between the development of research skills and readers –an audience for their work. Some participants who had not previously collaborated with a librarian described their own methods of integrating research skills development in the curriculum. Findings are encouraging and support librarians in their efforts to promote information literacy instruction as a critical skill in undergraduate education.