Fall 12-13-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Trish Harvey

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Suzanne Schriefer

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Rochelle Murray


This capstone addressed the research question: what are today’s best practices in online reference, and how can librarians at academic institutions improve the student experience in online reference transactions? It documents one librarian’s creation of best practices for a virtual reference service based on the guidelines and practices outlined by governing bodies, commercial entities, and other libraries. During the study the practices were implemented at a higher education institution and results about the effectiveness, clarity, and overall improvement of virtual reference transactions were gathered using a mixed-methods approach. The author used related research literature as a foundation for building best practices documentation and evaluation of the results. The author described the successes and difficulties in implementing the best practices and concluded: lack of student awareness of the best practices implemented impacted satisfaction results, staff benefitted from having basic competencies defined, and outlining basic skills and defining what those skills entailed provided a needed structure for online chat.

Research Methodology

Action Research


Library Services, Higher Education, Best Practices

Included in

Education Commons