Library in the Miller Center

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Integrating Library and Information Literacy into your Assignments

A few articles about students and their research skills:

We encourage you to:

  • Schedule a course-integrated library instruction session with library faculty when students have a firm grasp of their research topics.
  • Consult with a librarian about your library assignment or provide librarians with a copy of your assignment so we can help students more effectively.
  • Include a link to one of our research tools such as Subject Guides or the Assignment Calculator. Or have us create a Course Guide page for your class or assignment. These can give students a great head start on doing research.
  • Incorporate a variety of information types and formats into assignments. For example, have students find and then compare the content of different formats (i.e. Internet vs. books, journals vs. magazines).
  • Have students evaluate the sources they used (is it a good or bad source? or just the first one listed?). For example, have students include annotations in the bibliography.
  • Specify the amount of research expected. For example, do students need to use scholarly or popular material? Give guidelines for the number of references they are expected to use (i.e. minimum of 2 scholarly journal articles).
  • Encourage students to get help from Miller Center librarians (Ask A Librarian) in person, via email, telephone or live chat.
  • Check SCSU MnPALS or check with a librarian to make sure we have the materials you are requiring for your assignments.
  • Give students some direction with choosing a project topic.
  • Break down large assignments into parts. This will allow you to assess student progress more effectively and help students manage their work. For example, require students to turn in the bibliography, outline or rough draft.
  • Specify what citation style they should use (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and include it in your syllabus.
  • Explain (or ask a librarian to explain) what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and how it relates to the Internet and full-text databases.

Less effective assignments include:

  • Scavenger hunts. Roaming around the library looking for trivia is not research and tends to promote frustration and anger towards the library.
  • "No web sites." Though good in theory as a method to encourage use of journals, etc. Students often assume they cannot use scholarly online journals from the library databases because they are accessed from the library "web site." Thus students are often frustrated when they restrict themselves to the print collection. More and more library materials are available online only, as a result they may be missing the best resources for their topics.
  • Limiting research to a particular resource. 30+ students trying to use one or two books or journal articles is stressful to everyone.
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