What Do We Know About Advanced Degree Holders? ~ Characteristics of Advanced Degree Holders Who Are Likely to Become Subject Specialists in Academic and Research Libraries Louise S. Robbins (Director and Professor) Ming-Hsin “Phoebe” Chiu (Doctoral Student) Fang-Shu Ou (Department of Statistics, Master’s Student) School of Library and Information Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison 2006 ALISE, 01.18.2006
Overview • Introduction • Study Design and Methods • Findings • Discussion • Implications • Suggestions for Further Research • Questions & Comments
Introduction • Research Background • Changing demographics of academic librarianship • By the year of 2010, more than 83,886 librarians in North American will have reached the age of 65 (Curran, 2003) • 23.1% of vacancies in public libraries and university libraries result from a shortage of qualified people with particular specialty (Lynch, 2002) • Why do we care about the need for subject specialists? • Subject expertise • Language expertise • Familiarity with scholarly communication • Contributions from multiple perspectives
Study Design and Methods • Research Questions: • What are the characteristics of advanced degree holders pursuing a master’s degree in LIS? • Why do they choose to pursue a career in librarianship?
Study Design and Methods • Data collection: Survey method • Online survey • Data gathered on a national basis￫ Results should be generalizable • Survey contents: • Academic background • Actual or projected career path • Factors attracted them to choose LIS • Factors influenced their decisions to undertake the LIS degree program • Perceptions of the importance of different aspects of LIS education
Study Design and Methods • The resulting data were used • to develop understanding of the characteristics of advanced degree holders in LIS programs • to investigate the factors that influenced their decision to pursue a degree in LIS • to identify variables that may have an impact on the decision of individuals to choose librarianship
Data Collection Difficulties • Difficulties in obtaining data on the advanced degree holders enrolled in LIS education programs • Schools can provide total numbers of degrees, but not subject fields without extensive work • Student information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) • Time and human resource limitations • What we’ve learned? • Information regarding the actual supply of subject specialists hasn’t been systematically collected and documented
Findings • Demographics • 326 advanced degree holders from 16 ALA-accredited LIS education programs have participated in the study • 10 graduated in 2004 • 115 graduated in 2005 • 105 will graduate in 2006 • 24 will graduate in 2007 or later • Students were from two types of schools, according to Carnegie Classification, they were • Doctoral research universities • Master’s colleges and universities
What are the primary and secondary factors that attracted the subject specialists to choose LIS?
How did the influence factors affect the advanced degree holders’ decision to undertake a LIS degree program?
Results of Statistical Tests • Test 1: The factors that attract advanced degree holders to librarianship are related to the type of library work environment in which an individual is interested in working • Test 2: How an advanced degree holder values the importance of various aspects of LIS education is related to the preference of type of library work one is most interested in. • Test 3: An advanced degree holder’s subject field is related to the preference of type of library work environment. • Test 4: An advanced degree holder’s highest degree is related to the preference of type of library work environment. • Test 5: An advanced degree holder’s subject field is not related to the preference of type of library work • Test 6: An advanced degree holder’s highest degree is not related to the preference of the type of library work.
Characteristics of Advanced Degree Holders Pursuing a Master’s in LIS
Importance of different aspects of LIS Education • The statistical test indicates that the type of library work an advanced degree holder prefers to do in the future is highly related to how one values the importance of different types of education aspects. • Design a curriculum that is responsive to the advanced degree holders’ needs and interests, and their career paths.
Influence Factors • Individual factors: An advanced degree holder’s highest degree, major in the subject field, the time they developed their interests in LIS, and the attitudes toward LIS academic aspects • Social factors: An advanced degree holder’s perception of the status of librarian, geographical and job mobility, and work environment. • Economic factors: Salary, job options and career advancement, investments in time required to complete a degree and tuition for education, and funding opportunities.
Implications • Recruitment efforts should focus on current graduate students or recent graduates with advanced degrees • Target doctoral degree holders instead of master’s degree holders • More effective to recruit advanced degree holders instead of encouraging current LIS degree holders to pursue an advanced degree of their interests
Further research in the following areas is needed Advanced degree holders’ decision-making process to undertake a degree program in LIS Difference between the individuals who have an advanced degree before entering an LIS program and those who are working on an advanced degree during or after completing the LIS degree Perceived value of advanced degrees in the subject fields by the LIS degree holders, and perceived value of the LIS degree by the advanced degree holders, Perceptions of importance of aspects of LIS education Longitudinal study: Career path changes and the forces behind the changes Suggestions for Further Research