Studies by Carol Kuhlthau and Constance Mellon of the research process of college students indicate that librarians are less frequently used as sources of help than might be expected. Neither researcher, however, has extensively explored the reasons for this failure to seek assistance. The findings of some recent studies by Stuart Karabenick of the help seeking behavior of college students may be usefully applied to students needing help with library research assignments. This paper describes a study of 326 undergraduates in twenty-two courses which required a library research project. Students were surveyed to determine the extent of their need for help, the sources from which they sought assistance, and the reasons for any reluctance to approach librarians or professors. Results confirm some previous findings but also reveal considerable willingness to seek help from librarians.

Publication Date

April 1997




Paper delivered at 8th ACRL National Conference, Nashville, TN, April 14, 1997