VanScoy, Amy (2021, July). Using Q methodology to understand conflicting conceptualizations of reference and information service. Library & Information Science Research, 43(3), art. 101107. (doi: 10.1016/j.lisr.2021.101107) (Link:

Abstract: Using Q methodology, which is designed to make sense of topics on which there are various opinions, this study examines the conflicting conceptualizations of reference and information service (RIS). Thirty-five statements reflecting the various approaches to RIS, were sorted by librarians from different types of libraries in Slovenia, South Africa, and the United States. Using principle components analysis with varimax rotation, a three-factor solution was found for the data: transformation and empathy; communication and information provision; and empowering and learning. These findings provide the practitioner perspective of the conflicting conceptualizations in the literature and suggest orientations to RIS that have implications for theoretical work and professional education for RIS.

Amy VanScoy <> is in the Department of Library and Information Studies, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY, USA.