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Dissertation Information for Tom Childers

NAME:
- Tom Childers
- (Alias) Thomas A. Childers
- (Alias) Thomas Childers
- (Alias) Thomas Allen Childers

DEGREE:
- Ph.D.

DISCIPLINE:
- Library and Information Science

SCHOOL:
- Rutgers University (USA) (1970)

ADVISORS:
- Ralph Blasingame

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
- None

MPACT Status: Incomplete - Inspected

Title: TELEPHONE INFORMATION SERVICE IN PUBLIC LIBRARIES: A COMPARISON OF PERFORMANCE AND THE DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS COLLECTED BY THE STATE OF NEWJERSEY

Abstract: The investigation focused on the public libraries of New Jersey and their responses to telephone information requests. The basic independent variables consisted of 26 different statistics relating to financial support, personnel, book and non-book materials, circulation, hours of operation, and population served; an additional 21 independent variables results from summing or dividing these, e.g.: "Paid Professionals + Paid Non-professionals," and "Books Owned/Capita."
A stratified sample of 25 libraries was drawn from a population of public library units limited by two "purifying" criteria intended to render the independent variables more congruous with the dependent variable.
The dependent variable consisted of the correctness of response to information requests. Twenty-six questions of the simple factual type were telephoned to the sample according to a schedule designed to simulate randomness. Responses were judged for correctness on each of five different scales, including two correct/not-correct dichotomies, and an attempt/no-attempt dichotomy.
Theoretically, a different research hypothesis existed for each of the 47 independent variable, in the form: "An association between (the independent variable) and the correctness of response to the test questions does exist."
Findings
The instrument: The simulated patron telephone inquiry was judged useful for gathering data quickly and inexpensively, and for presenting a more realistic picture of levels of information service than the obtrusive measures used heretofore.
Of the five scales used for scoring the responses, the correct/not-correct dichotomy that scored no-attempt responses as not-correct was found to be the most discriminating in regard to the independent variables. A second scale--a correct/not-correct dichotomy which deleted all no-attempt responses--was useful for comparison.
The independent variables: For the most part, the basic independent variables were found to be redundant; their intercorrelations and their correlations with the response variable indicated that they were sensitive to response level in the same way.
By averaging the correlation coefficients, it was found that of the independent variables that "best" indicate variation in the other independent variables, six were related to finances. Expenditures for all personnel was the best of these.
The responses: Considering only instances in which respondents tried to find answers to questions, approximately 64 percent of the answers were correct. When no-attempt responses were scored zero, the percentage of correct answers dropped to approximately 55. Comparison of the correlations between these scales indicated that there is no relationship between attempting to find an answer and success in responding correctly.
Together, these two observations provide evidence fro questioning the operability of the lower levels of question referral hierarchies, suggesting an important area for further research.
Analysis of variance revealed a significant but not strong direct association between the correctness of response and the stratum of total expenditures.
The data lent substance to Beasley's hypothesis that the quality of a library's reference service is directly related to a combination of the number of professional personnel and the size of the book collection. It was further noted that the number of professionals bore a stronger relationship to the response variable than did the size of the book collection.
Stepwise linear regression resulted in a seven-variable equation that tentatively permits prediction of 90 percent of the variation in the response variable.

MPACT Scores for Tom Childers

A = 7
C = 5
A+C = 12
T = 7
G = 1
W = 7
TD = 7
TA = 0
calculated 2008-01-31 06:03:16

Advisors and Advisees Graph

Directed Graph

Students under Tom Childers

ADVISEES:
- Tzvee David Morris - Drexel University (1979)
- Harry Elvin Broadbent III - Drexel University (1984)
- Christina Wolcott McCawley - Drexel University (1984)
- Joseph Andrew McDonald Jr. - Drexel University (1987)
- Claire Marie McAlinden Skerrett - Drexel University (1991)
- Cynthia L. Lopata - Drexel University (1993)
- Jin Taek Jung - Drexel University (1997)

COMMITTEESHIPS:
- Mary Jo Lynch - Rutgers University (1977)
- Jassim Jirjees - Rutgers University (1981)
- Suzanne C. Joseph - Drexel University (1988)
- Barbara Marie Wildemuth - Drexel University (1989)
- Andrew David Scrimgeour - Drexel University (1999)