Integrating Library Research
Although a number of high schools and public libraries provide valuable introductions to the myriad of information sources available, many students still arrive on Concordia's campus with very little experience in conducting academic research. Library resources such as books and electronic databases have often been neglected and free Internet-based search engines, such as Google, have received acceptance as an alternative.
To add to that dilemma, college faculty are often definitive members of the group Gloria Leckie terms "expert researchers." They have not "been undergraduates for a long time. Simply because of the passage of time, they have often forgotten what their own undergraduate educational experience was like. They are used to sophisticated discussions about research with colleagues and graduate students, and in this environment, it is all too easy to make assumptions about the level of understanding possessed by undergraduates. Furthermore, the context is rapidly changing. ... There are more information resources available, but also more technologies to master. It is now harder to say that in any given class there will be a uniform skill level in using the complex and varied resources of academic libraries to produce a research paper" (203).
In contrast to the "expert researcher," Leckie terms undergraduate students "novice researchers." Though they may have been introduced to some of the skills and resources required to conduct academic research, they have not done that research with the specific tools and resources available at Concordia. Nor have they explored any research topics to the depth that will be expected in college. As teaching faculty and librarians, there are many ways that we can support these novice researchers, including:
- "Laddering" research assignments
- Demonstrating or describing effective search strategies
- Guiding students in their resource choices
Leckie, Gloria. "Desperately Seeking Citations: Uncovering Faculty Assumptions about the Undergraduate Research Process." The Journal of Academic Librarianship 22.3 (1996): 201-208. Print.