Thinking about the Research Process

When you assign a project or paper

Keep in mind that students, expecially undergraduates may not have a clear understanding of how to begin the information search process needed for the assignment. They may have limited experience using an academic library and its resources. If asked how they feel about doing research in the library, thier attitude may run the gamut - some of your students will enjoy the experience, others would rather have a root canal. Many people hate to do library research. As a result, some of them avoid it altogether. Others do it badly. There are 2 big mistakes students make if they do not enjoy the research process:

* they put off doing their research until the last minute and go running blindly into the library without doing some thinking first

or

* they try to get it over with as soon as possible by running blindly into the library without doing some thinking first.

Is it possible to enjoy research? Yes.

There is a right way and a wrong way to do research. Approaching research in the right way will save your students time and frustration and help

them overcome library anxiety.

In order to answer a question or solve a problem, they need to know how to identify, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively.

Typically, there are six steps to finding and using information:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Develop a strategy for finding the information
  3. Locate the information
  4. Use and evaluate the information collected
  5. Integrate the information collected into a finished product
  6. Review the finished product

How can you help your students?

  1. Be sure they understand the question, the problem, or the assignment
  2. Recommend that they develop a strategy for finding the information - do some brainstorming with them, and you might also want to recommend they consult with a librarian.A librarian can assist with identifying possible information sources, locating materials as well as assist them in evaluating the sources.

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