Review of Module 2
The Reference Interview
What Have You Learned?
The reference interview is a critical part of the
reference process. The reference interview determines what information library users need.
Interview skills require understanding and practice of paraphrasing, asking open
questions, clarifying, verifying, and gathering the Six Pieces of Evidence: Purpose,
Deadline, Type and Amount, Who, Where, and the Basic Question (What does the patron really
want to know?).
Do the following to review:
There are four basic steps in the reference process -
outreach, determining needs, filling needs, and follow-up. The Reference Interview is a
means of determining information needs.
Begin the interview by repeating the patron's opening question
to let them know you are listening and correctly understand the question.
Continue the interview by asking open questions that can't be
answered by yes or no to encourage the patron to tell you more about the question. That
way you don't have to guess.
Ask clarifying questions to get a particular bit of
When you think you have the question clearly in mind and are
ready to search for the answer, check one last time before searching to verify you have
the patron's real question.
The goal of the reference interview questions is to discover
Purpose, Deadline, Type and Amount, Who, Where, and The Basic Question.
Although remote or virtual reference requires many of the same
interviewing skills you have learned in this module, the physical requirements and the
nature of the virtual environment will require mastering the skills of interviewing with
remote services software.
At the end of the reference interview don't assume you've
answered the question, always ask a follow-up question such as "Does this completely
answer your question?" If you can't immediately find information for the patron,
refer them or let them know you will continue working and when you will get back to them.
The reference interview answers the basic question: what does the patron really want to know?
When you have completed the exercises and quiz for this module, take
them to your supervisor.
The reference interview is the key to quality reference service.
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