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Research Guides

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Options for UNIV 200 Library Instruction

In UNIV 200, librarians collaborate with faculty to expand students’ knowledge of the academic research process and build on what they learned in UNIV 112. Below are a few of the concepts we often cover in UNIV 200 library sessions. Since most library sessions are 50 or 75 minutes, we are typically able to cover 2-3 of the concepts listed below.  This is not an exhaustive list of what we can teach in a library session, but rather a sampling of the most common concepts we cover. Your Designated Librarian will reach out to you to schedule your library sessions and discuss the specific approach to each session that you prefer.

  • Discussion of research as a process

    • Refining and shaping research questions to an appropriate scope for the assignment, and emphasizing that research is an iterative process.

  • Developing a search strategy

    • Helping students develop appropriate search terms for their topic and emphasizing that students will need to use multiple search terms within multiple search tools in order to find the best resources possible.

  • Familiarizing students with available search tools

    • Using VCU Libraries Search (the gold search box) and other search tools, such as Google Scholar or subject-specific databases, to find resources. This includes understanding search tool limiters (date, material type, etc.), and advanced search options.

  • Using already found resources to find additional items

    • This includes using the bibliography to find additional books and articles, as well as using tools such as the “Recommendations” tab in VCU Libraries Search and “Similar Articles” in Google Scholar to find additional resources.

  • Evaluating resources

    • Determining the relevancy, credibility, and accuracy of resources, as well as evaluating whether sources are appropriate or not for a given assignment.

  • Substantive resources

    • Substantive sources, unlike peer-reviewed, scholarly sources, can be tricky. We will cover what substantive sources are, why they may (or may not) be appropriate for a given assignment, how to find them, and how to evaluate them.

  • Facilitated searching

    • Students practice searching on their own while the librarian assists and answers questions.

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