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Library Instruction Geared To The Personality Of Engineering Students

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Information Literacy

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.824.1 - 8.824.9

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Paper Authors

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Jeanine Mary Williamson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Section 1441

Library Instruction Geared to the Personality of Engineering Students

Jeanine M. Williamson University of Tennessee, Hodges Library


Engineering professors and psychologists have extensively studied the personality of engineering students.1, 2, 5, 7, 12, 15, 20-26 This paper offers applications for library instruction that take into account the predominant personality characteristics of engineering librarians’ typical audience. It outlines several suggestions for tailoring library instruction to the traits of engineering students. Implications for lecture-oriented instruction, activities, and instructional modules are given. The Myers-Briggs and Holland Vocational systems have been used extensively in characterizing engineering students and are reviewed here. In addition, differences between librarians’ traits, those of engineering students, and those of engineering faculty create interesting dynamics for library instruction.


Myers-Briggs is a system of 16 personality types generated by preferences along four polar dimensions: Extraversion/Introversion; Sensing/Intuition; Thinking/Feeling; and Judging/Perceiving. Individuals who take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator have four letters assigned to them, one for each dimension. Thus, someone who is an “INTJ” prefers Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Judging. Introverts prefer to focus energy on their inner experience. Extraverts prefer to focus their energy on objects and people in the environment. Sensing types focus primarily on information from their five senses. Individuals who prefer Intuition focus on patterns and interrelationships. Thinking types base conclusions on logical analysis, exhibiting objectivity and detachment. Feeling types consider social and personal values in forming conclusions. Judging types prefer to exhibit decisiveness and closure in dealing with their outer world. Finally, Perceiving types prefer to exhibit flexibility and spontaneity in dealing with their outer world.16 A wide variety of studies using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator have characterized engineering students as predominantly Thinking and Judging individuals, as opposed to their polar opposites, Feeling and Perceiving types.5, 15, 17, 20, 21,23,24 Between 64 percent and 75 percent of the engineering students studied preferred Thinking. Thinking refers to preferring to make decisions using objective, logical analysis, rather than by considering personal reasons. Between 52 percent and 61 percent of the students

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Williamson, J. M. (2003, June), Library Instruction Geared To The Personality Of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015