Thursday, July 10, 2008

Focusing on student research habits

Binghamton University Libraries conducted a study to determine the research habits of students by surveying faculty and graduate TA's and tallying information at the reference desk. Through these tools, the researchers found 2 areas in which the library could most stongly impact the quality of student research. "The two main problem areas in student research...were access to information and evaluation of information" (C&RL News, Vol. 69 No. 7). The study found "access to information" to be an area for concentration because the majority of faculty respondents indicated a concern that students use unreliable Internet sources more frequently than licensed library databases. It was also determined that most students rely on the first page of full-text results when conducting searches, rather than critically evaluating sources to determine which results best meet their research needs. In response to the study results, the library created web-based tutorials that could be easily incorporated into Blackboard. Instructors can select which tutorials to add to their course management.

We currently have a library tutorial and quiz that serves as an overall lesson in library research, similar to what is taught in English I and II. I'd like to create a series of short, engaging, interactive tutorials with the ability for instructors to incorporate them into Blackboard. Tutorials can also be used as mini-lessons for frequent questions at the reference desk. This is a project I foresee working on throughout the upcoming year. If anyone has suggestions (or is well-versed in creating tutorials!), let me know.


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