The terminology of job descriptions: the case of library assistants who provide information services

Margaret Friesen
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the kinds of terminology used in writing job descriptions for library assistants who provide information services affected the job evaluation rating for the jobs described. The study provided background information on the importance of the problem, pay equity and job evaluation systems, the nature and purpose of contacts in information and reference services, the changing roles of information providers and the problem of terminology in
more » ... job descriptions. To examine whether the terminology in job descriptions made a difference in evaluation, three experienced job evaluators were asked to rate nine job descriptions representing three levels of jobs and three different terminologies: library, computer and generic. The respondents' ratings, five sets of nine ratings each, were analyzed by comparing the individual job evaluation plans, the respondents' numerical ratings and rationales. The findings revealed the similarities and differences in definitions used in each of the plans, the differences in ratings within and among plans and the extent to which the terminology used in the job descriptions could be attributed to differences in ratings. Some inconsistencies in ratings occurred. In most cases, the job description using library terminology was rated higher than its computer or generic counterparts but in two cases it was not. Of the three versions of terminology, the generic version led to the least favourable ratings. Considering the complexity of the responsibility o f contacts present to some degree in all three levels of jobs, some of the jobs may have been undervalued. Recommendations were made for action and for further study.
doi:10.14288/1.0088393 fatcat:nojawpbvxfedvohxmfme273qd4