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Research Education at the Mardigian Library

What is Research Education at the Mardigian Library

The Research Education program provided by the Mardigian Library offers course-related instruction to help students learn how to conduct academic research and become more information literate. Librarians collaborate with faculty to develop individualized sessions for classes that can include:

  • Demonstrations of Summon, a tool that allows researchers to search multiple library databases simultaneously.
  • Targeted resources from the library's 400+ research databases.
  • Searching techniques to help students use these databases effectively.
  • Evaluation techniques of information resources that will help students learn to distinguish apropriate academic resources from the flood of web pages and other sources available.

Also, for faculty wanting a more integrated approach to research education you can work with your subject librarian to have them embedded in your face-to-face class and or your Canvas Course Site.  Contact your subject librarian for more information.

Subject Librarians

African and African American Studies, Communications and English Librarian - Carla Brooks

Behavioral Sciences Librarian - Nadine Anderson

Business Librarian - Joan Martin

Education, Health, and Human Services Librarian - Raya Samet

Engineering and Math Librarian - Elaine Meyer

Philosophy, Modern & Classical Languages, Community Engagement - Julia Daniel Walkuski

Science Librarian - Joel Seewald

Social Sciences Librarian - (interim)  Economics - Joan Martin, Political Science - Carla Brooks 

User Services and First Year Experience Librarian - Holly Sorscher


Benefits of Research Education

The Advantages of Research Education

  • Students will use higher-quality sources for their research projects or papers
  • Students will produce higher quality projects or papers.
  • Students will feel more comfortable using the library.
  • Students will gain self-confidence in their research skills.
  • Students will learn research strategies that can save them time.
  • Students will become independent researchers.
  • Research education may reduce frustration of both students and faculty.


Creating More Effective Research Assignments

Key Questions

  • Are these the most useful or relevant library resources (either print or online) to use for this assignment?
  • Are the directions clear to students? Is the assignment too vague?
  • Am I up-to-date on the new resources available in the library?
  • Have I asked a librarian to help me identify good resources that everyone can access?
  • Does the library carry the materials that I am suggesting?

Library Assignment Tips

The Basics: Define, Develop, Test

Define your Objectives

  • What do you expect students to learn as a result of the assignment?
  • Is the assignment part of a bigger paper or a "treasure hunt?"
  • How does the assignment relate to your general course objectives?

Develop the assignment

  • Include critical thinking. Does the assignment require students to consider what they have learned?
  • Will students evaluate the information they find and compare to other sources?
  • Can students tailor the assignment to their interests, make choices, explore different approaches?
  • Suggest a time frame for completion of each segment
  • Schedule library sessions for the assignment at the time the students will need to do research.

Test the Assignment

  • Try the assignment yourself. If you have trouble finding something, your students won't find it any more easily.
  • Are the materials in the library? Check the Library Catalog or consult with your library liaison to ensure materials are available.
  • If the assignment requires students to use resources from Ann Arbor or from another area university, be aware that it will take students more time.
  • Read more about Interlibrary Loan and borrowing materials from other libraries.
  • If many students are asked to look at one specific source, consider placing the resource on Reserve.
  • Can more than one resource be used to answer a question? Suggest alternative titles when possible.

Other things to consider:

What materials are accessed online?

  • Many of our journals are available in full text from library research databases accessed via the web.
    • Some are available only online.
    • Some are only available in print.
    • Some have to be interlibrary loaned from other libraries.
  • It is important to distinguish electronic titles from their print counterparts; some change title names when formats are changed. For example:
    • Psychological Abstracts is the print title of this publication, while PsycInfo is the electronic title of Psychological Abstracts.
    • This distinction is important so students will not waste time searching for titles that no longer exist under its "print" title.

Internet Assignments

  • Can students distinguish between "free" sites on the Internet for information and "paid" sites (such as our subscription databases)?
  • Can students evaluate the quality of information found on the Internet?
  • Be aware that internet sites change often. If you require the use of an Internet site for a class assignment, check to make sure it's still available or hasn't changed drastically.
  • Suggest a specific Internet site(s) that may have information needed for research, or a couple of search engines (Google, Yahoo! Search, Ask, etc.) that can be used to find the information.

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