Convenience sampling and student workers: Ethical and methodological considerations for academic libraries

Manda Sexton, Kennesaw State University


As library and higher education professionals, it is our duty to promote the highest level of integrity in our assessment and research. Whether it be a new programming event, instruction methodology, or usability testing, there is a growing trend in using the student workers of the library to assist in the initial testing and assessment. While this sample allows for impromptu testing and easier participant recruitment, this not only puts the students in a place of negative power-differential, it also does not allow for accurate initial testing of these various assessments. This opinion of one librarian begs for a scholarly communication surrounding the use of our student workers as participants in our assessments and the ethical considerations surrounding the extent in which student workers are being utilized. Librarians will be challenged to rethink the convenience of the sample and try whenever possible to take extra time to find representative samples to accurately analyze success.