Graduate-Level Library Instruction
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Graduate-Level Library Instruction



Providing graduate-level library instruction requires additional considerations than instruction provided for undergraduates. This presentation outlines these and provides recommendations.

Providing graduate-level library instruction requires additional considerations than instruction provided for undergraduates. This presentation outlines these and provides recommendations.



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  • Numbers largely depend on when programs (and universities) were incorporated, and also their teaching/research emphases. Source: Florida Board of Governors:
  • “… I had to change my teaching” – an FAU professor of education remarked that over the years, the students in his courses went from being mostly male to being increasingly female and diverse.
  • Lends to library/ research anxiety.
  • I was in a grad-level program in teaching where it was def. survival of the fittest. Yet now I work with a program where students and professors keep in touch with each other on many levels.
  • Faculty liaisons: also a source of mentoring and subject-area support. Advise students to identify and read literature reviews by others within their subject area.
  • For instance, a topic in education might also have sociological and psychological underpinnings.
  • The lit review is not an annotated bibliography or a laundry list of articles. It integrates and synthesizes what is found into something new.

Graduate-Level Library Instruction Graduate-Level Library Instruction Presentation Transcript

  • Council of State University Libraries (CSUL) Public Services Planning Committee & Information Literacy Subcommittee June 2011 Kristy Padron, Information Literacy Subcommittee Chair (‘10 & ‘11) & Assistant University Librarian, FAU Libraries Contributions by Jim Alderman (UNF), Alyse Ergood (FAU) & Carol Maksian (FGCU)
  • Source: Florida Board of Governors,
    • Top program areas:
    • Health Professions to Clinical Sciences
    • Education
    • Business Management/ Marketing
    • Engineering
    • Biological/Medical Sciences
    • Physical Sciences
    • Recent Graduates with Bachelor Degrees
    • Returning Adult Students
    • Women**
    • Increasing Numbers of Blacks & Latinos**
    • International Students
    • **May depend on program.
    • What does this influence?
    • Class Environment
      • Instructor-Student Interactions (Formal vs. Friendly)
      • Motivation (Competitive vs. Cooperative)
    • Andragogy: Adult Learning Practices
      • Respecting prior knowledge & life experience
    • Communication & Cultural Exchange
      • “… I had to change my teaching,” said one professor.
    ^ and ^
    • Professors and faculty influence their students to use the library; if they do not mention it, then students do not use it.
    • Students lack knowledge of library resources and services; this usually comes later in their course of study.
    • Students possess varied abilities and comfort levels with using the library, doing research and also with using technology.
    • Students rely on the Internet for information and are more likely to use Google instead of library resources.
      • If something isn’t available online, it’s ignored.
      • Some studies suggest that despite instruction on scholarly research, students avoid using library tools because of their difficulty.
    • Level and scope of degree
      • Ph.D/ Ed.D, Masters Level, or Certificate / Credentials
    • Type of Enrollment
      • Full-Time, Part-Time, or Accelerated
    • Subject area and discipline research methods
      • Lab-based, field work, literature reviews, case law, etc.
    • Overall program environment
      • Formal/informal; Competitive/Cooperative; Supportive/”Survival of the Fittest”
    • Basic knowledge of and confidence in subject area resources.
    • Active relationships with faculty liaisons.
    • Knowledge and application of andragogy.
    • Flexible communication skills : asking questions, listening, cultural/gender norms.
    • Technological expertise to recommend (or “sell”) library tools and resources to students and faculty alike; helps with assisting in times of need.
    • Advising on search strategies, vocabulary, and other resources; leave the topic development and refinement to the professor who is a subject expert.
    • Library catalog and local services most used by graduate students (interlibrary loan, consultations, etc.)
    • Multidisciplinary databases (ProQuest Central, Academic Search Premier) are not sufficient resources for a comprehensive graduate-level literature review.
    • Introduce and demonstrate subject-area databases and Web of Science or other citation databases.
    • Additional information sources: WorldCat, SUL Union Catalog, dissertation databases (ProQuest & WorldCat), controlled vocabulary sources (MeSH, CINAHL headings, thesauri)
    • Bibliographic management software (RefWorks, EndNote)
    • Advise students to identify and read literature reviews by others within their subject area; approach the literature toward finding something new.
    • Ask questions that could help the student discover his or her own refinements.
    • Subject and research areas are becoming increasingly multidisciplinary; suggest related areas and resources as needed.
    • Suggest to researcher that consultation with the faculty adviser might be the next step in the process.
    • The Purpose of the Literature Review:
    • Set the background on what has been researched on a topic.
    • Show why a topic is significant to a subject area.
    • Discover relationships between ideas.
    • Identify major themes & concepts.
    • Identify critical gaps & points of disagreement.
    • Help the researcher turn a network of articles into a coherent view of the literature.
    • Selected Articles
    • Blummer, B. (2009). Providing library instruction to graduate students: A review of the literature. Public Services Quarterly, 5 (1): 15-39.
    • Harkins, M.J., Rodrigues, D.B., and Orlov, S. (2011). Where to start? Consideration for faculty and librarians in delivering information literacy instruction for graduate students. Practical Academic Librarianship: The International Journal of the SLA Academic Division ,  1 (1), 28-50.
    • Williams, H.C. (2000). User Education for Graduate Students: Never a Given, and Not Always Received in Teaching the new library to today's users: reaching international, minority, senior citizens, gay/lesbian, first-generation college, at-risk, graduate and returning students, and distance learners .  Trudi E. Jacobson (ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman, pp 145-172.
    Web Pages & Tutorials Florida Gulf Coast University Library. Conducting & Writing Literature Reviews (LibGuide). North Carolina State Libraries. Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students . The University of Arizona University Libraries. Researching and Writing Literature Reviews.