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BSCI, CRJ, & WGST Faculty: Library Services and Research Help

for Behavioral Sciences, Criminology & Criminal Justice, and Women's & Gender Studies Faculty

Research Skills Education Program for the Behavioral Sciences

How Do I Book Research Skills Sessions?

Email Nadine at nfanders@umich.edu to book a research skills session for your course. Nadine will work with you to create a research skills session teaching students the research skills and resources they need to be successful on your research assignments. Nadine will also develop customized, online research guides for these sessions.

The research skills education program follows evidence-based best practices to maximize student motivation and learning:

  • Sessions should be directly tied to course research assignments 
  • Sessions should be scheduled at point of need, as close as possible to the time when students are beginning their research
  • Sessions should be booked in a computer lab, to facilitate hands-on learning 
  • Faculty should attend sessions with their students
  • Faculty should request sessions at least 14 days in advance
  • Faculty should forward an assignment copy at least 7 days in advance
  • Faculty should collaborate in the development of sessions and actively participate in them

Nadine's research skills sessions take a hands-on learning approach, based on how skills acquisition research indicates people learn and master new skills, and generally follow this structure:

  1. "What's in it for me?" Introduction to the skill and why they should learn it (i.e. to do well on their research assignments)
  2. "Get to know it": Learning how to do the skill (i.e. through brief explanations and demonstrations)
  3. "Try it out": Practicing the skill and getting feedback (i.e. through hands-on practice time and faculty and librarian feedback)
  4. "Use it or lose it": Applying the skill to a real-life situation (i.e. to their own research assignments)

For faculty wanting a more integrated approach to research education, you can work with Nadine to have her embedded in your face-to-face class and/or your Canvas Course Site. Email Nadine at nfanders@umich.edu for more information. 

What Research Skills Will Be Taught In These Sessions?

Nadine will design research skills sessions around the specific skills students need to be successful on your research assignments, for example:

  • Developing focused research topics or thesis statements
  • Identifying differences between Google and Summon (Google for the Library's collection)
  • Finding scholarly sources in the library's collection
  • Identifying differences between popular and scholarly sources
  • Identifying peer-reviewed articles and what peer-review is
  • Analyzing and evaluating sources
  • Using sources to build arguments
  • Putting together citations and/or annotations
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Finding specialized information, such as tests and datasets

What Are The Benefits of Research Skills Education?

Some of the benefits of research skills education:

  • Students will learn transferable research skills that they will use throughout university and in their careers
  • Students will develop more effective critical thinking skills
  • Students will use higher-quality sources for their research projects or papers
  • Students will produce higher quality projects or papers
  • Students will gain self-confidence in their research skills
  • Students will become independent researchers
  • May reduce faculty frustration

FAQ: How Can We Help Our Students Choose Sources That Aren't CRAAP?

This CRAAP Test checklist guides students through asking questions about their sources when they're deciding whether or not to use them for research assignments.

FAQ: How Can We Help Our Students Understand the Research Process?

The research process for university assignments is a lot messier than students think. This video will help students navigate their way through the twists and turns of the research process.

FAQ: How Can We Help Our Students Understand What Peer-Review Is?

This video explains peer-review to students: 

FAQ: How Can We Help Our Students Stop Plagiarizing!?

UM-Dearborn Tutorial on Academic Integrity and PlagiarismThis tutorial is intended to teach students about plagiarism and the academic policies of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Successful completion will be certification that students understand the nature of plagiarism and the policies of the University regarding plagiarism.

This video gives tips on avoiding plagiarism

FAQ: How Can We Improve Our Students' Research Paper Writing Skills?

Here are some research paper writing tips and a general recommended format to help guide student writing that you can tailor to the requirements of your assigned research papers.

Writing Tips

  • Decide on the research paper's main thesis (focus) and main points first
  • Write the body of the research paper first and then write the introduction and conclusion
  • Everything in your research paper should point back to the thesis

Research Paper Format

Research papers should have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion:

1. Introduction: summarizes what you will write and puts it into context

  • Start the introduction with background that contextualizes the paper's main thesis
  • End the introduction with a thesis statement, which outlines the main points of the paper and how you will address them

2. Body: presents the main points of the paper, with each paragraph representing one aspect of the paper's main focus. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence, evidence, analysis, and a transition sentence:

  • The topic sentence summarizes the paragraph's main idea
  • Use evidence from your research sources to support or make the argument for your main ideas
  • Analyse your evidence to show how it links to your broader thesis
  • Include a transition sentence at the end of each paragraph to connect what you discussed in that paragraph with the main idea of the next paragraph

3. Conclusion: summarizes what you wrote and what you learned

  • Restate your thesis from the introduction in different words
  • Briefly summarize your main points or arguments and pull them together into the paper's main thesis
  • End with a strong, final statement that ties the whole paper together and makes it clear the paper has come to an end
  • No new ideas should be introduced in the conclusion, it should only review and analyze the main points from the body of the paper (with the exception of suggestions for further research)

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