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The Embedded Librarian: Engaging Students in Library Research Julie Gilbert, Assistant Professor & Academic Librarian Christopher Gilbert, Professor of Political Science Gustavus Adolphus College Minnesota Library Association Conference October 24-26, 2007 Mankato, MN Study Outline

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the embedded librarian engaging students in library research

The Embedded Librarian: Engaging Students in Library Research

Julie Gilbert, Assistant Professor & Academic Librarian

Christopher Gilbert, Professor of Political Science

Gustavus Adolphus College

Minnesota Library Association Conference

October 24-26, 2007

Mankato, MN

study outline
Study Outline
  • POL 200: Analyzing Politics, Spring 2007
    • 3 library sessions focused on specific library skills necessary for assignments
  • Data collection
    • Survey investigating student research approaches
    • Analysis of annotated bibliographies
    • Results compared to control group (POL 200: Analyzing Politics, Fall 2006)
but i ve heard this before
“But I’ve heard this before…”
  • Significance for the librarian
    • Design library instruction sessions that are directly relevant to student research
    • Convey the idea that there’s always something new to learn about research
    • Expose students to the wealth of information available through the library
    • Relate the library more closely to the classroom & research experiences
i m not sure what to do with my topic
“I’m not sure what to do with my topic…”
  • Significance for classroom faculty
    • Devote more attention to finding the best sources of published information
    • Give students a deeper understanding of what’s available in the library’s collections
    • Make students more efficient researchers – a skill that transfers to all research both within and outside of political science
creative library exercises group discussion
Creative Library Exercises – Group Discussion
  • You are teaching a library session on a specific assignment for an undergraduate class.
  • Brainstorm creative ways of teaching students how to use the library to complete the assignment. Possible discussion questions include:
    • What research/library skills do students need to complete the assignment?
    • What unique approaches could you use to teach research/library skills to students?
    • Have you taught a session on this assignment?
      • What worked? What didn’t work?
major findings of our study
Major Findings of Our Study
  • Spring students utilized more forms of research assistance
  • Spring students used better sources and a greater concentration of high quality sources in their annotated bibliographies
  • Confidence levels for fall and spring students end up virtually identical
forms of research assistance
Forms of research assistance
  • Spring students were three times more likely to consult a reference librarian (50% vs. 17%) during their research process
  • 88% of spring students used 3 or more sources of assistance (Fall: 77%)
  • Spring students spent less overall time finding sources for bibliographies
better sources
Better sources
  • Spring students used more high quality sources on both AB papers, more so on AB2 (6.0 HQ sources vs. 5.2 for fall)
  • Spring: 86% of sources classified as high quality, vs. 80% for fall
  • Spring students used fewer web resources in AB2 (14%) compared to AB1 (21%) (fall students constant at 15%)
further collaborative ideas
Further Collaborative Ideas
  • Brainstorm about other ways for librarians and classroom faculty to collaborate:
    • What’s worked?
    • What hasn’t?
    • What would you like to try?
    • How to initiate these collaborations?
additional information
Additional Information
  • Handout with data results, practices
  • Slides on MLA website
  • We very willing to share examples of exercises & data methods with you – our contact information is on the handout.

THANK YOU!