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For Faculty: Research Skills For Your Students

Information Literacy

Information literacy refers to a set of skills that involve thinking critically about information. As the world of scholarly information evolves, and peer-reviewed articles that used to sit on library shelves are now interfiled among Google search results for products, organizations, and popular and amateur websites, it is more important than ever that college students learn how to identify, locate, access, evaluate, and use information appropriately.

Beyond the academy, information literate citizens are armed with better skills with which to approach the decisions that come with being a member of society, whether that entail formulating positions on public policies and candidates for office, making a major consumer purchase, deciding among possible approaches to a health condition or illness, or parsing the information presented to us in the media.

College and university librarians partner with faculty and administrators to document and develop opportunities in the curriculum for developing and assessing information literacy skills among students. The latest NEASC accreditation standards include mentions of information literacy not only in Standard Seven (Library and Other Information Resources), but also in Standard Four (The Academic Program), reflecting the fact that the best approach to developing information literacy skills involves a collaboration among faculty and librarians.

Librarians in the Classroom

Librarians can come to your class to discuss and demonstrate ways for students to find, evaluate, and use the information they need in your course. Contact your liaison librarian (Amber Hunt for Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences; Beth Ruane for Natural Sciences or World Studies) to discuss a class session.

Course Guides

Librarians can work with you to tailor online course guides to facilitate students' discovery and use of information resources in your courses. Guides can support a specific assignment; a subject or discipline; a particular type of resource; or anything else that might be helpful. Contact your liaison librarian (Amber Hunt for Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences; Beth Ruane for Natural Sciences or World Studies) to get started.

Dedicated Hour Workshops

Librarians periodically offer workshops on topics of general interest during Dedicated Hour, to which all faculty are invited to bring their students. We are also happy to meet individually with Dedicated Hour groups. We take requests! If there's a library, information, or publishing-themed topic you'd like to explore with your dedicated hour group, let us know.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Scholarly vs. Popular Sources: locating, distinguishing, evaluating
  • Zotero (a free citation management and formatting tool)
  • Google Books
  • What is plagiarism? How is it different from copyright?  What does the College Academic Integrity Statement say about plagiarism?
  • Sustainable study skills
  • Tracking citations using Google Scholar
  • Google - Advanced Google searching, filter bubbles, visible vs. invisible web
  • Show Frontline Digital Nation and discuss. Full program is 90 minutes, but it's divided into 9, 10 minutes chapters that could each start great conversations about research/study/life with digital resources.

Tips for Crafting Research Assignments

Here are a few tips for crafting research assignments that set your students up to be successful:

  • Try not to assume anything about what your students already know.
    • Every student comes to Marlboro College with different research skills and experiences.
    • Remember what it was like to figure out a college library the first time.
  • Make sure the resources you suggest for them to use are the available here at Marlboro College.
    • We may need to purchase materials or help set up a van trip for your students to use resources elsewhere.
  • Librarians can help you!
    • We are happy to discuss research assignments with you.
  • Point students to a citation guide or citation manager to assist with bibliographies.

Rice-Aron Library