In/gratitude? Library acknowledgement in theses and dissertations at a distinguished African university
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Giving credit to where it is due is common across cultures. In research, researchers widely express their gratitude to those who would have contributed to their studies in one way or the other under the acknowledgements section. In most cases, the selection of who to acknowledge remains the prerogative of the author. The purpose of this study was to review acknowledgements in Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) with a special focus on the acknowledgement accorded to the library and librarians at the North-West University in South Africa. This was done in order to determine the perceived value of librarians as partners in the research process by postgraduate students. The study followed a two pronged approach in which bibliometrics and survey research methods were used. In the case of the bibliometrics, ETDs completed between 2012 and 2018 were reviewed. Regarding the survey, both print and online questionnaires were used to gather data from postgraduate students. Excel spreadsheets and QuestionPro software were used to analyse the data. The study findings indicate that supervisors of research work topped the list of acknowledgees followed by family, friends and colleagues. The library/librarian acknowledgements, were among the least with only 15% of ETDs giving gratitude to the library/librarians. However, like in previous studies, it was observed that library/librarians were mentioned in other parts of the ETDs, apart from the acknowledgements section. The results further indicate that the majority of the surveyed participants, held acknowledgements in high esteem. The paper will go a long way in adding value to a body of existing literature which is largely from the developed world. It may also stimulate interest for related studies in other developing countries.
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