The primary goal of the study was to examine challenges presented to humanities doctoral students that lead to increased attrition and long completion rates. The data gathered will be used to develop strategies by which research libraries can address the issues of community, accessible space, research assistance and development of a scholarly identity singled out by the study.
"High attrition rates and extended time to completion are nationally recognized issues for students pursuing doctoral degrees in the humanities," James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian, Columbia University said. "The results of this study will inform university and library leadership on the importance of library collections, services and facilities to the work and success of graduate students."
Both Columbia and Cornell libraries plan to use the results of the study to create new opportunities and encourage deeper collaboration with campus partners. Columbia will also use the study to inform ongoing facilities development and the renovation and expansion of the Digital Humanities Center; Cornell will explore the feasibility of an immersion program for humanities graduate students.
"This study speaks to some of the deepest concerns for students of the humanities," said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell. "Ultimately, libraries will be able not only to support their development as scholars, but also to help build community and create a more successful academic experience."
The results of this study will be presented at the 3rd Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries International Conference (QQML2011) in Athens, Greece at the end of May.
An executive summary and preliminary results from the study are available at http://2cul.org/activities/intervention.