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Research Education at the Mardigian Library

Faculty Course Support Request

Use our Faculty Course Support Request form if you would like to request research education, collection development, or course reserves for your course.

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 Mardigian Search (a.k.a. "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 appropriate academic resources from the flood of web pages and other available sources.

For faculty wanting a more integrated approach to research education, 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, Communication, English and Linguistics  - Carla Brooks

Behavioral Sciences, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Women's & Gender Studies  - Nadine Anderson

Business - Carla Brooks, Interim

Computer Science - Amy Seipke

Education, Health, and Human Services - Raya Samet

Engineering and Math - Amy Seipke

First Year Experience Librarian - Christopher Spilker (interim)

Journalism and Screen Studies - Tim Streasick

Mathematics - Amy Seipke

Music - Heidi Keppen

Modern & Classical Languages - Josh Olsen

Philosophy, Religion,  - Christopher Spilker

Science Librarian - Joel Seewald

Social Sciences Librarian - Christopher Spilker



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 Course Reserves.
  • 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) with information needed for research, or a few search engines (Google, Google Scholar, Bing, Yahoo! Search,  etc.) that can be used to find the information.


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