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Marketing & Quality Assurance: LibQUAL FAQ's



How long will it take to complete the survey?

It should take between 5 and 10 minutes to complete the survey.

Can I skip questions that do not apply to me?

Do not skip any questions in the LibQUAL+ survey! If you do not wish to answer a question or feel a question does not apply to you, select NA (not applicable). You will not be able to send the survey without completing all the core questions.

Will there be any special incentives for participation?

Upon successful completion of the survey, you will be entered into a luck draw for incentive prizes (terms and conditions apply), if you elect to include your email address at the end of the survey. Look at the poster for details of the prizes. Your email address will not be linked to your answers, so confidentiality will be maintained. The winner will be announced in September 2017. Your local library may also offer smaller incentives throughout the month.

The terms and conditions are as follows:

  • The survey is open to University of Pretoria (UP) staff and students only.
  • You need to complete the survey in order to participate in the lucky draw.
  • The University of Pretoria cannot take responsibility for any damage, loss or injury related to the lucky draw or the prizes.
  • The survey must be completed by 31 August 2017.
  • Winners will be notified via email by 30 September 2017.
  • Winners must present their personnel or student cards for verification when collecting their prizes.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Prizes cannot be converted into cash.
Is the survey exclusively web-based?

Yes. If you experience any problems, send an email to or contact Elsabé Olivier on (012) 420 3719.

Is the survey compatible with text-to-speech web browsers for the visually impaired?

Yes, the survey is compatible with the JAWS screen reader software.

What should I do if I cannot open the link of the survey?

If you have trouble opening the link, you can contact Mpume Hlatshwayo at (012) 420 3718 or Elsabé Olivier at / (012) 420 3719.

Why does the survey seem to repeat the same questions?

The survey examines three dimensions of library services, each represented by a number of questions. Repetition or redundancy in questions allows the survey designers to analyze the validity of each service quality dimension through statistical methods.

Why are reminders sent to respondents who have already completed the survey?

In order to maintain maximum confidentiality and security, responses and identifying information are immediately separated after submission, so we have no way of knowing who has already responded. Reminders, therefore, are distributed to everyone. If you receive a reminder when you have already completed the survey - thank you for completing the survey and please ignore the reminder!

What discipline category should I choose for my major area of research/study?

We have chosen the names of UP faculties or schools as "disciplines" to simplify segmentation. If you are in an interdisciplinary field or altogether in doubt as to what discipline you should select from the dropdown list on the survey, select "Interdisciplinary Studies". Staff not engaged in teaching or in discipline-based research should choose the discipline closest to their information needs.


What will be done with the survey results?

Survey data are transmitted directly from the LibQUAL+server (in the US) to a database. The data are then analysed and reports are generated for individual libraries that provide information on how users perceive the quality of their service. Participating institutions will have access to summary results for each institution, allowing for comparisons among peer institutions and all participating academic institutions. This will aid in developing benchmarks and understanding best practices across institutions, and will help the Department of Library Services to align services with user expectations. Initial results should be available by end of September 2017 and will be posted on our website, social media sites and our library plasma screens as soon as possible thereafter.

What information is shared with other institutions?

Only the summary statistics are shared with other institutions. The survey summary results will be made available to participants via a password-protected web site. Users' comments (from the comments section) will be made available to the users' institution.


What is the LibQUAL+ survey?

Service has always been the focus of libraries. The LibQUAL Survey is intended to measure library service quality across multiple academic and research libraries. The LibQUAL Survey instrument measures library users’ perceptions of their libraries’ service quality and identifies gaps between minimal, desired, and perceived levels of service.

LibQUAL+ was developed by statisticians for the ARL (Association of Research Libraries) in the US. More than 1,300 libraries in 33 countries have participated in LibQUAL+, including college and university, community college, health sciences, and academic law libraries. Submitted surveys will be analysed in the USA by ARL staff who will also provide comparisons with peer institutions. This will aid in developing benchmarks and understanding best practices across institutions.

What survey instrument is being used?

The LibQUAL+ Survey evolved from a conceptual model based on the SERVQUAL instrument, a popular tool for assessing service quality in the private sector. The Texas A&M University Libraries and other libraries used modified SERVQUAL instruments for several years. Those applications revealed the need for a newly adapted tool that would serve the particular requirements of libraries. From 1999, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), representing the largest research libraries in North America, collaborated with Texas A&M University Libraries to develop, test, and refine the LibQUAL+ instrument. This effort was supported in part by a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE).

The survey is straightforward and involves no deception or coercion. Potential respondents may elect not to proceed with the survey after reading the guarantees of confidentiality and privacy.

What does the survey measure?

The instrument consists of 8 core questions that address three service quality dimensions that have been found to be valid in previous assessments of library services: Affect of Service, Library as Place, and Information Control.

Each question has three parts that ask respondents to indicate (1) the minimum service level they will accept, (2) the desired service level they expect, and (3) the perceived level of service currently provided. This design will permit analysis of gaps between desired, perceived, and minimum expectations of service.

An open-ended text box is provided at the end of the survey, for comments and suggestions.

How will this survey benefit the clients of the Department of Library Services?

Survey results, including your comments and suggestions, will give an indication of your expectations and areas needing improvement. It will also allow us to compare our service quality with other peer institutions, to develop benchmarks, and to identify best practices across institutions. Results will be used for planning in order to provide the services that you deserve and need.

Why isn't the survey at a UP Web address?

The survey is administered through the Association of Research Libraries and Texas A&M University, and the survey and data are housed on secure Texas A&M servers.

Information from the LibQUAL+ site ( and from the LibQUAL+ information pages of other participating institutions was used to create this page and is gratefully acknowledged.

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