Ithaka S+R fielded its fifth survey of faculty members at four-year colleges and universities in the United States. This morning it released those results in a report that sheds light on everything from how best to improve student research skills, and their views on peer networks and scholarly societies, to what guides faculty members' publishing choices.
"Every day we read about the ways in which traditional approaches to teaching and learning, and how scholarly information is shared, may undergo major shifts using new technologies," said Roger Schonfeld, Ithaka S+R program director for Scholarly Practices and Libraries. "It's invigorating, and amidst the excitement, it's a good time to take a step back and to see how the nation's faculty members see some core parts of their work evolving."
The random sample of 5,261 faculty members replied to questions developed in consultation with an advisory committee of librarians, publishers, and a scholarly society executive. In addition to long-standing topics like the importance of libraries to the respondents' work and their comfort levels with shifting library collections from print to digital, the survey also covers the expanding role of ebooks, developments in teaching methods, and the factors that shape research topics and projects.
Major topics covered by the survey include:
- Research processes: The processes through which scholars perform their research, focusing principally on the use of research materials in secondary and primary research.
- Teaching practices: The pedagogical methods that faculty members are adopting and the ways that they draw on content and support services in their teaching.
- Scholarly communications: Formal and informal methods by which scholars communicate with each other, the ways in which the types of materials and information exchanged in these processes are evolving, and needs for various kinds of publishing support services.
- The library: How faculty members perceive the roles and value of their institutional library, touching on the roles the library plays in supporting many of the above activities.
- Scholarly societies: How faculty members perceive the roles and value of their primary scholarly society, including in supporting both formal and informal communications between scholars.
The survey, implemented using a rigorous methodological approach, also provides unique insight in its ability to track change over time against surveys conducted in 2003, 2006, and 2009.
The full report is now freely available online on the Ithaka S+R website and the complete dataset will be deposited with ICPSR shortly.
~ Posted by K. Jane