Beyond searching for sources : using research data to explore the intersections between information literacy and composition instruction Armstrong, Annie; Insua, Glenda; Lantz, Catherine
Our four-librarian research team embarked on a multi-pronged assessment project to study the behaviors of first-year students completing an in-depth research paper for an English composition course. By collecting student bibliography assignments at multiple stages of the course, assigning online research journals at four strategic points, and conducting open-ended interviews at the end of the semester, we sought to gain a holistic and nuanced understanding of how students pursue the research process. Our data analysis revealed several intersections between what is traditionally seen as the librarian’s instructional sphere and what is considered the domain of the composition instructor. While students seemed proficient in finding scholarly sources, they often struggled to evaluate, interpret, and integrate these sources into their research papers. Students’ persistent struggles to utilize sources prompted librarians to consider deficits of the current instructional model and consider the costs of a bifurcated approach in which librarians primarily focus on finding sources and composition instructors emphasize how to integrate sources into research papers. Would increased collaboration and overlap in content coverage strengthen student understanding of key research concepts related to both information seeking and synthesis of sources? Could a more blended approach in which there is less delineation between finding sources and incorporating them into products of scholarship (aka research papers) lead to greater student success? In this presentation, we will discuss our findings, engage participants in an active discussion focused on exploring and challenging traditional instructional domains, and demonstrate how librarians can leverage the results of research studies to initiate meaningful conversations and collaborations between librarians and faculty.
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