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They can find it, but they don't know what to do with it: describing the use of scholarly literature by undergraduate students. Rosenblatt


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Presented at LILAC 2010

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They can find it, but they don't know what to do with it: describing the use of scholarly literature by undergraduate students. Rosenblatt

  1. 1. They can find it, but they don’t know what to do with it: Describing the use of scholarly literature by undergraduate students Stephanie Rosenblatt, California State University, Fullerton Presented at LILAC 2010, Limerick, Ireland
  2. 2. “Tired of reading and grading mediocre papers, all of which cite flimsy sources, if they cite any at all? It is said that we are living in an ‘Information Age.’ So, why then, are papers so often lacking in solid, factual information from scholarly sources? . . . a path to improved student papers is making students aware of the wealth of resources available to them,” (Hurst & Leonard, 2007,p.1- 2). How can we be sure that quality resources = quality papers?
  3. 3. Cal State, Fullerton
  4. 4. The Pollak Library’s instruction program
  5. 5. Assumptions
  6. 6. Research assignment for SOC 351 Re-Examination Paper-- 20% In assignment number two you examined your family of origin, in this assignment, you are to re- examine your family of origin given what you have learned in this class.  You must cite three articles, one outside book, and one presentation text in this analysis, incorporating theories and terminologies in your analysis.  At the end of your essay, make sure to note how your perception of your family has changed, if at all? (Harris, 2008,p. 4).  
  7. 7. Initial results n = 20 11 students in the experimental group 9 students in the control group
  8. 8. Ability to find & evaluate information  85% met or exceeded the professor’s bibliographic requirements (17 students)  90% chose materials on their topics (18 students)  90% chose peer-reviewed materials (18 students)  75% of the students had exposure to library instruction either before or during the experiment (Four students in the control group had attended a library instruction session for another class.)
  9. 9. New questions •What’s the point of a research project or paper? •How valuable is library instruction? •How can librarians help faculty better serve our students?
  10. 10. Integrating Developing Emerging 3 2 1
  11. 11. Could students use the information?
  12. 12. Conclusions  False assumptions  Implications for instruction  Questions for further study
  13. 13. Please contact Stephanie Rosenblatt at For more information
  14. 14. Extras
  15. 15. Stages: Getting the Assignment Choosing a Topic The Initial Search (unfocused) Finding a Focus Collecting Information (focused) Completing the Search/ Starting Writing Actions looking for anything on the topic --------------------- looking for information that fits your focus Feelings uncertainty optimism confusion frustration doubt clarity sense of direction confidence relief/ satisfaction or dissatisfaction your interest increases ------------------------------- Thoughts seeing multiple possibilities ----------------------------------commitment to your focus Adapted from Carol Kuhlthau’s “Initial Model of the Information Search Process” in Seeking Meaning, 2004. p. 45 by April Cunningham and Allison Carr for SCIL Works 2008. Model of College Research
  16. 16. Screenshot of checklist
  17. 17. Integrating Developing Emerging 3 2 1 The student uses and analyzes scholarly literature to effectively accomplish a specific purpose. In this case, the student makes connections between the scholarly literature and his/her own life experiences that have been discussed in the family re-examination paper. (ACRL 3.3.a; 3.4.c;3.4.f;3.4.g; 3.5a; 3.5.b;4.1.c) Information is taken from source(s) with enough interpretation/ evaluation to develop a comprehensive analysis or synthesis, meaning the student has organized or synthesized the evidence to reveal important patterns or similarities and differences between different sources and between the scholarly literature cited and the focus of his/her paper. The student makes more than three connections between the literature and his/her life experience or that of the interviewees. The connections occur throughout the paper. Information is taken from source(s) with some interpretation/ evaluation, but not enough to develop a coherent analysis or synthesis. The student organizes evidence from the scholarly literature cited, but rarely comments on differences or similarities between different sources or between the literature cited and the focus of the student's paper. The student makes three or fewer connections between the literature and his/her life experience or that of the interviewees. Information is taken from source(s) without any interpretation/ evaluation. The information is fragmented and/or used inappropriately. For example, evidence from the scholarly literature is listed or summarized but is not organized. No connections are made between the literature and the focus of the student's paper. The sources cited may not relate to the paper's focus. Adapted from the Association of American Colleges and Universities VALUE Rubrics available at by Stephanie Rosenblatt, 2010
  18. 18. How did students use the information? Emerging students:  summarized the literature they cited, dedicating a paragraph to each source. Their personal narratives and summaries of their interviews followed.  did not make any explicit connections between the texts cited and their life experiences or those of their interviewees, although they were on similar topics.  did not include conclusions, with the exception of one student. This conclusion revisited themes from the student’s personal narrative and interviews but did not connect those themes to the literature.
  19. 19. Developing students  often made their first connection to the literature in the paper’s introduction (four students); subsequent sources were summarized and listed.  never made more than three connections between the literature and examples from their own or their interviewees’ life experiences.  sometimes explicitly described the process of searching the scholarly literature to find sources (two students).  often compared two scholarly sources (four students).  included conclusions that did not make reference to the scholarly literature.
  20. 20. Integrating students:  began connecting the scholarly literature to the topics of their papers and their life experiences in the first or second paragraph of the papers.  continued to make connections between the life experiences of themselves, their interviewees, and the literature throughout the paper.  compared and/or contrasted scholarly resources at least once; sometimes contradicted the literature with personal experiences (five students).  concluded by summarizing the main themes of the literature and making comparisons to those explained in their narratives and interviews.
  21. 21. Association of College & Research Libraries Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (2000) Standard One The information literate student determines the nature and extend of the information needed. Standard Two The information literate student accesses needed information effectively and efficiently. Standard Three The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. Standard Four The information literate student, individually or as a member of a group, uses information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose. Standard Five The information literate student understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information